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off in the distance, the sound of surf---


With the tropical depression hitting the coast early yesterday afternoon, my hopes for going out there on the shore searching for more 'good stuff' came to a screeching halt when the sheriff's office put up barricades on all the beach access roads. And the little hidey hole that locals can go to when that happens was 'under' water in too many places for my own safety. The water table is up so high from Alex, that the water that fell in buckets beginning yesterday morning around 1 a.m. wasn't going to make me a happy camper. Flooding. I wasn't going to take a chance. But...

...the Mary's bean comes from a little-known tropical vine in the morning-glory family. Historically, people have used Mary's beans as good luck charms and to ward off evil spirits. A woman in labor was assured an easy delivery if she clinched a Mary's bean in her hand, and the seeds were handed down from mother to daughter as treasured keepsakes. Also, they've been known to be used across the Caribbean area for curing ailments. Named after the Virgin Mary, it is also called crucifixion bean because of a cross etched on the dorsal side of the seed. Part of the cross is produced by the impression of a narrow, black strap that is connected at each end. The strap wraps around the dorsal side of the large seed and holds it in the papery outer capsule. The Mary's bean; the cross is divided into a tetrad of four small (separate) seeds. New Mary's bean seeds still enclosed in their encasing are covered with a dense layer of black hairs. The fuzzy covering eventually wears off exposing the dark brown-black, woody seed coat that is impervious to water. The thick seed coat and internal air cavities enable the buoyant seeds to drift for months or even years at sea. The bean, or seed, is certainly one of the most elusive and interesting of all drift seeds in fact and fiction. A remarkable seed to drift for years at sea, from Central America to beaches of Norway even. Throughout beaches of the Old and New World, the Mary's bean is always a treasured discovery for beachcombers lucky enough to find one. And last week, walking along the shore, I was one of the 'lucky' ones!! And to show you the size ratio, I held the bean/seed in my hand to compare with the size of a fingernail [front and back of bean] --they aren't huge, so NOT easy to find. Just think of this little pod; it floated for thousands of miles across the sea to just pop into my path...

I so wanted to go back out yesterday. The best time for hunting for drift seeds is during a storm or just after it lets up. Maybe some other time for me...maybe.

POSTED: Friday, July 9th, 2010
12:15 A.M.


  1. What a wonderful story of a tiny seed!! beautiful!

  2. Anonymous7/09/2010

    WOW what a cool story. I would have never known. Have a great Friday my friend :)

  3. This is sooo facinating! I am always out searching for sea glass on our beaches but now I'll be searching for the Mary bean also. You were lucky to find yours. Thank you for inspiring me to find mine as well.

  4. Anonymous7/09/2010

    I love the story of this seed. So tiny and traveling so far...

  5. Wow! The things you can learn from blogs. What a wonderful story and I'm so glad you found one. Have you found many?

  6. Sweet Bee No I haven't found any besides this one I'm showing today. They are very difficult to find I'm told. I've found many other kinds, but only the one Mary's Bean.

  7. I've never heard of Marys bean. Very interesting! What type of plant does it come from?

  8. Hi Anni, You write in the most captivating way. Have you thought about writing a book? Or maybe you have already. I am not a reader, but you capture my attention with every word. I love the "Mary Bean" story. It is original and fascinating. I am a new follower of yours. *hugs*

  9. Mari As I wrote above, it's part of the morning glory family/species.

  10. Your blog is fantastic! Thanks for stopping by mine and I hope you remember to come back for the party! LOL!

  11. Anonymous7/09/2010

    The story of the seed.. is inspiring..

  12. What a cool and interesting post!

  13. WOW! I had never heard of these before! Awesome one 'just happened' there just for you, sweet Anni.

    Have a lovely weekend.
    TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

  14. Anonymous7/09/2010

    Hi Anni,
    Thanks so much for visiting and your sweet comment! I appreciate it!!
    I never even knew these little beans existed. Thanks for sharing their history. Maybe it will ward of the bad storm in your area. :)
    Stay safe and take care!
    ~ Jo :)

  15. I loved your story, very interesting, See your never too old to learn something!!

  16. Lucky you Anni! I didn't know about Mary's Bean, and now I do. What a miracle you actually found one. I love that it is named after the Virgin.
    Love your new look too. Your blog looks fantastic!

  17. huh, what an interesting piece of info. can't believe you found something so small walking along something so big. good for you!

    thanks so much for your comment on my cloche...and glad you like the title. i always try to be creative like that, but sometimes it's hard with the amount of letters in the link ups.

    have a great weekend!

  18. Anonymous7/09/2010

    What a remarkable discovery! Thank you for sharing the interesting story behind the bean. Have a great weekend Anni :)

  19. How nice that you take something some people would overlook and make it beautiful and interesting....Michelle

  20. Thank you for sharing the story of the bean.
    It is so interesting. Happy that you were lucky enough to find one.
    Stay safe this weekend.

  21. Great posting. So sorry about your beach combing messed up. This darn weather! Lots of flooding dure to the Rio Grande rising. So glad we are high and dry, but sad for those who are losing their property... and having their own lives endangered. One of our farmer-friends' farm is completely under water. Ugh!
    Take care and have a good weekend.
    Ladybug Creek

  22. Now that is a neat story! Thanks for sharing!

  23. Thanks for stopping by, and I'm so glad I came here too. What an interesting post! I never knew that story. Wow, thanks so much for sharing! I live right by Fox River - do you think I might find one there? How cool would that be! Thanks luv, have a great weekend.

  24. I love legends like that - we have one here in Georgia - the Legend of the Dogwood Tree.

  25. Anonymous7/09/2010

    What an interesting post- I had never heard of Mary beans!! I think it is funny how people will put their trust or luck in things like this.

    Thanks for commenting on my arbor my son made for me! I sure love showing it off!

    bee blessed

  26. How interesting this is, Anni....
    You always have something cool to teach us.

    I am so glad things have settled down from that storm...guess you still have plenty of water around, tho. The storm has dumped some mighty needed rain over our dry West Texas and have kept the temps way down. Our lawns are so green, they look poison...just give them another month and they will be brown again. :(
    Stay dry...
    xo bj

  27. You lucky gal, finding one of those Mary's Beans!! I had never heard of them before so I was quite fascinated by the story behind it. I'll have to ask my brothers in BC if they've ever found any along their beach. They both live near the Pacific Ocean and are forever going for walks along the shore. Hopefully you'll be able to find more soon:-) xoxo


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