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I'm nuts!!.... about 'beaning'!

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Yesterday, I mentioned that this past week I found a mythical 'oddity of the sea' while combing the beach. Actually, I found two. I'll feature just one; the one that has been cleaned up of the seaweed and sand....

They're called a MERMAID'S PURSE by legend. I know nothing about how the origin of the naming goes tho. Perhaps the story below in link will give you some incite, tho this is probably a 'make believe' story in itself. Lately, I've been conversing via email with Ed Perry --a sea bean author and noted website master of such findings of the Gulf Waters...he too doesn't know how the name began since we last 'talked'. Anyway, they're actually egg sacks from those in the sea, such as sharks, fish, and skates [a stingray shaped fish]. I believe the two I found are from skates since I've seen several swimming in the shallow tides around our beaches oftentimes. See the tendrils hanging from the sack? In the sea the tendrils are much longer before they hit the air when washed ashore...very long and thinning to a hair width...they're fragile enough to break off easily once dried out. The tendrils, I'm told by reading and researching, is swirled around and around by the momma skate attaching them to seaweed up until the egg matures and a baby skate hatches. Also, the momma skate leaving her egg sack, only to return and lovingly swirls around and around her offspring that remains in the egg produce air bubbles around the sack itself for life breathing oxygen for the unborn.

Legend storyteller : A Mermaid's Purse©



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It's another beach combing addiction. When I first found a whole sand dollar I was ecstatic. It soon became a fixation each time we walked along the surf/low tide I was searching for more. At the beginning, I was picking up every one I found. Even the broken ones. Now I'm more picky...just the WHOLE sand dollars. Then, one day during the hurricane season, walking along the Whitecap Beach area to watch the high violence of the wave action from an incoming storm, I looked down and found a seed that was shaped like a heart. A beautiful specimen. Getting online to search for a clue as to what I actually found, I realized that I wasn't the only one with avid interest...there are 'beaners'. And, yep...I'm now nuts about beans...seeds that drift from far away places like the Caribbean Sea, or some as far as Africa. After reading about the sea heart and its legends, I was hooked.
    Like a mythical "Jack and the Bean Stock", the Entada Gigas is one of nature's largest vines and its fruit are the world's longest Legumes. The giant green beans are made up of many seed compartments connected by a tough woody cord. Large beans have 12 - 18 seedpod segments and can measure THREE to SIX feet or more in length!
    Since my first find, I have come across ones that are as shiny as the first day they fell from the pod, and others can be CAKED with slime and scum from their long journey. They are 'tough as nails'! The seed can be sanded, run through a rock tumbler and still come out close to perfection.
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So, today, I'm going to 'take you on a journey'...a journey all about going nuts!! In all technicality they should be referred to as either drift seeds or sea beans. Personally I prefer drift seeds to the sea beans. But either way, we now know what we're talking about. Okay...NUTS! I have found some actual nuts. Walnuts that have drifted ashore from the tropics, some Nickar Nuts...often classified as sea pearls. Oh yes...the crazies fanatics online have such a romantic flair about them. Pearls indeed. I'll begin by showing you one I found just this past week...a sea pearl. It's really a Grey Nickar Nut. Another name for the Caesalpinia bonduc seed specifically is Nickar Nut, from a Jamaican word 'nickar'. They are initially green and large; shrinking and turning grey. Nickar seems to have come from the Dutch word 'knikker', which was a boy's baked clay marble. From the West Indies:

    [or nickernut]
    specifically Antigua

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Next comes along the Water Hickory. There really isn't much traveling for these as far as I can find. They are native to the wetlands, clay swamps of Southern America. From the Carolinas to Florida and around the Gulf to Mississippi.


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Caesalpinia major. Another Nickar Nut...this one isn't much of a pearl in shape, but certainly worth finding. Supposedly they are very RARE finds. Only very few make it to our shores. This one is also Caribbean in origin.

    [or brown nickerbean]

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Of course, who doesn't know that my love of food is also an addiction at times? Especially hamburgers. Which I crave but only consume one about every two months. Afterall, I can't stop living, yet, I try to make it an award for eating more healthy before I go out for a burger. Anyway, yes....there are sea beans or drift seeds called HAMBURGER Beans!! Teeny tiny seeds that are colored much like a hamburger in a bun. Some come from Costa Rica, others from Belize [another is from Hawai'i...but they aren't found here as far as I know] This one particular photo I'm sharing is BEFORE I cleaned's just as I found it on the beach...


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Better a cheeseburger! This is also a 'hamburger bean'...but colored entirely different, and from a different part of the Caribbean I'm sure. I must confess tho, when I found it this week, my first thought was..."NOW YOU'RE TALKIN'!!!! A hamburger is so much better with double cheese". The reasoning behind my thought is the coloration of this's orange around the 'burger'!!! It is also known as a sea purse....there y'go again...romanticizing it all.


    Be sure, if time allows, to click on the link of the sea heart near the top of my will show you the seed pod from where they came....the world's LARGEST seed pod.


  1. Never heard of a mermaids purse. I have heard of Turkey Purse.

  2. I've seen a mermaids purse before, but had NO idea what it really was - thought it might be some variety of seaweed! Very interesting Annie - the hamburger bean is quite pretty!

  3. PS Soooo enjoyed reading about the sea hearts - they're HUGE!

  4. I love your treasures :) Makes me yearn for the sea!

  5. Anonymous5/16/2011

    You find some great things on the beach. The 'purses' are interesting, I don't think I've ever seen one befors.

  6. You pictures today are so descriptive! I'd not heard of the Mermaid's Purse either. Such and interesting post! Thank you too for your visit! Have a wonderful week! Cathy

  7. This is all very interesting!

  8. Never heard of any of these! Had I found that mermaid's purse I wouldn't have had a clue...

  9. What a fascinating post! Love all of the photos.

  10. So many treasures you have found :)
    Very interesting to read about the mirmaid purse

  11. this is fascinating. i've not heard of the mermaid purse.

  12. Wow! The beaches close to where you live look like fascinating gold mines!

  13. What a fascinating place you live - beachcombing sounds like a lot of fun!

  14. I have never heard of a mermaid's purse. So interesting!

  15. I have never heard of any of these, but the stories about these nuts are captivating. your posts are always fascinating Anni. and you have a nice manicure too! have a great week Anni. I look forward to more adventures next week.

  16. You have some incredible sea treasures there! I need to get over to the island more and see what I can find!

  17. You certainly found such interesting items by the beach!! thanks for sharing them.

  18. It's so hard to find your comment box...anyway, first time I heard of this too and I don't believe folklores ^_^ interesting though...thanks for the input.

  19. Very interesting, thank you for sharing. Have a great Monday!

  20. Oh my stars what keen eyesight you must have to found all these treaures. I certainly enjoyed seeing and reading about them.

  21. Wow that is interesting about the Mermaids purse. You are really finding some fascinating things from the sea. I love beachcombing but don't really get to the beach until winter months.

  22. really great macro shots!

  23. Very interesting Anni. I like the turquoise background you photographed the purse on, it looks like the sea!

  24. Well, lots of stuff to learn here today! BOTH your beach combing treasure stories were interesting reads, Hootin' Annie.

  25. Fascinating. I've never heard of a mermaid's purse. Thanks for sharing that with us. :)

  26. Oh my I never heard that mermaid purse but now I do. ^_^ There is indeed a mermaid ^_^. A great find Anni. Happy week days ahead!

  27. Thanks for sharing these watery marvels that most of us will never see for ourselves! The links are awesome.

  28. Anonymous5/16/2011

    I like the forms in your Mermaid's Purse series. You might try using a large sheet of white paper when photographing small objects. Less distracting background.

    Thanks for visiting.

  29. Those hamburger beans are so cute! They look like tiny burgers. Love it!

  30. I learn so much from your blog Annie!

  31. Amazing what you find! I remember the red bean from last week.
    I want to walk your beaches. :)
    I've actually found one of the purses before. Never knew what it was. Not sure I kept it. I'll have to look for my shells packed away somewhere.
    What fun you must have in your beachcombing and what good eyes to spot all these fantastic finds!

  32. Annie, You are a becoming a walking encyclopedia--the things you find on the beach, and then the info you gather on them is impressive. I always learn something when I visit you (now if I could just remember it). Have a great week. Mickie :)

  33. Real interesting pictures ! I was convinced that the Macro picture were a skeleton of an ugly bug, never thought about a Mermaid's purse ! She really has a bad taste for purses ! lol !

  34. I forgot, I love your new blogoutfit, the little Geisha is so cute !

  35. Never heard of it before.... Interesting read

  36. Thank you, Anni,
    I really enjoyed this post and learning about these sea drift items. I know it is a fun hobby to find things and then find out where they originated. I loved the heart shaped seed and went to read about it and the mermaid purse.
    Thanks for taking me on your walks along the shore.
    Mama Bear

  37. What an interesting story... I did follow the link to read more about the sea hearts... (and I have heard of a mermaid's purse before but had NO IDEA what it was until reading your post). Very nice images to illustrate your post too. (sorry it's taken me so long to return your visit of last week but am very glad I followed the link and got to read all about 'beaning' today) :-)


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