Species: Abrus precatorius africanus
The Luckybean creeper has always been one of my favourite plants with the bright red and black seeds. I used to collect them on the farm where my mother-in-law’s stayed in the Barberton area and put the seeds in various shapes and sizes of small glass bottles. Back then I was not interested in the flowers, my only concern was the seeds.
You can keep a pod ‘bundle’ like this for a long time if you can protect it against handling. It makes a magnificent display with other seeds. BUT BEWARE!!! the seeds are poisonous when consumed. KEEP AWAY from small children!! If you want to keep it, then keep it in a safe place.
From my research I knew it was from the family Fabaceae and that the flower was pink, but it took almost eight years on the farm to eventually find a plant with flowers in bloom.
Please take care – The seeds are EXTREMELY poisonous, and there is no antidote available. It contains abrin, a chemical that penetrates the cells of the body and inhibits cell protein synthesis. Symptoms and the severity of the effects depend on the way of exposure and the dosage. Death could take place within 36-72 hours of exposure and the dose received.
If the intact seed is ingested, it might pass through the gastrointestinal tract without any harm, due to the hard shell of the seed. Rather be safe than sorry and when ingested accidently, find help at your nearest hospital or toxicology desk as soon as possible.
For more information:
- It is a regarded as a weed in some countries like Australia
- What the Latin name means
- General facts
- The toxin Abrin