SEEDS AND BEANS
The seeds and beans were collected from many different beaches on the North Cornish coast. They are very rare. Most winters I only find one or two. I have grown many of them. They have evolved to be transported by the sea. They harden in salt water and soften in fresh water. The largest, the Sea Heart (Entada Gigas) which means BIG BEAN in Latin, is the largest member of the pea family. It grows 100 metres up into the canopy of the rain forest. It’s a Liana, the pod is segmented and monkeys climb it so it’s also called the Monkey Ladder Vine.
The bean with a large black band is the Mucuna or Hamburger bean. It has waxy flowers that are pollinated by bats.
The smallest seeds (Ipomoea) grow on the shores of the Caribbean and Central America.
I have found several coconuts.
Extract from HELD BY THE SEA, Souvenir Press.
The seeds that wash in from the Americas are very beautiful. I have seventeen species, all different sizes, shapes, colours. Entada Gigas (Big Bean) is the largest member of the pea family. The dark, reddish brown seed is four centimetres across, flattened, with a notch at the top. Some people call it the Sea Heart. It’s a vine that grows a hundred metres into the canopy of the rainforests of South America.
I’ve germinated nearly all the seeds and grown the plants. Some were more difficult than others. The Entada seeds kept rotting in the soil but once I got one to take it grew a couple of centimetres a day, I kept a heater on all winter for it. One small brown seed, an Ipomoea, has pink flowers, it’s called the Rail Road vine because it grows on beaches in the Caribbean in long straight lines. I had to wind it round and round the pot. The grey Nickarnut went vertical, six foot in six months, with spines.
The seeds evolved to travel in the sea. In salt water they harden for their journey. They could go round and round the North Atlantic Gyre for decades, waiting for a gale to blow them in. Most of them land in the Gulf of Mexico and on beaches in Florida, even there the collectors are amazed by them and their journey is only up a stretch of coast. But I’m not surprised, seeds are always special, so much information stored so perfectly inside something so small. Seeds are magical, I think.
Natural finds from the Strandline 20/11/06 to 30/03/2014
Treyarnon 1 macuna
Mawgan Porth 1 Ipomoea Alba
Constantine 2 Triggerfish, I macuna, 3 Ipomoea Alba, 3 Ipomoea pres-caprae
Constantine 1 violet sea snail (janthina janthina)
Porthcothan 2 janthina Pallida, Various very small ipomoea seeds.
Constantine 1 small triggerfish 20cm from mouth to end of tail fin, (kept it) I ipomoea Alba, I Ipomoea pres-caprae, 3 other very small ipomoea.
Treyarnon 1 sea purse, 1 ipomoea Alba, 1 Pres-caprae,
Constantine 3 Janthina Pallida, I small Triggerfish, 22cm mouth to tip of tail fin (kept it)
Constantine I large trigger fish (dead) I triggerfish (alive but dying), 2 jacintha janthina
Treyarnon I nickarnut
Perranporth 6 Triggerfish, I Puffin (guts gone),
1 Razorbill (unoiled), 3 Guillemots, 161 Jacintha jacintha, 1 janthina pallida, I sea urchin, one sea potatoe.
Porthcothan 2 Janthina Pallida
Porthcothan 2 Janthina Janthina, 1 J.pallida
Constantine 1 Entada, 1 bay bean, 1 ipomoea Alba, 1 small ipomoea.
Porthcothan 1Triggerfish very small
Porthcothan 1 ipomoea, 1 operculina, 1 triggerfish.
Treyarnon 1 nickarnut, 1 Ipomoea, 1 sea pea, 4 small ipomoea.
I Hernandia Sonara (a new seed to me only one other recorded in UK)
Porthcothan 1 triggerfish
Mawgan Porth I Puffin (decayed), 4 Triggerfish, 2 Jacintha Pallida, I Ipomoea alba, 1 sea pea, 1 Ipomoea pres-caprae.
Constantine 1 Bay bean, 6 ipomoea alba, 1 pres-caprae, 5 small ipomoea, 7 calestegia, 6 very small ipomoea.
WRITING AND WORK GENERALLY MEANT NO WRECKING FOR A LONG TIME and from now a bit thin I’m afraid:
Around this time I realised that a lump of unidentified material which I picked up on Porthcothan about 5 years previously was Ambergris! It’s about 15 cms long and 4 across.
Porthcothan First Trigger fish of the year
Porthcothan 2 nickarnuts, I nutmeg in broken outer shell.
Treyarnon Tags 060106, 0027 ME 01, Canada Lob 192
Porthcothan Tags DFO Lob NL 351359 Yellow
Porthcothan Grey Nickarnut
Constantine Grey Nickarnut, 3 ipomoea Alba, I pres caprae, I sea pea, I small ipmoea.
Biodegradable tag pink ME 01 EEZ Z:O
White Aquaculture Saumon 1992
Green NL 449687
I tropical almond, 3 ipomoea alba
Kevin: Wallace Grey 6409
Tag: Red ME Z:A 06
Porthcothan I Nickarnut, 2 seapea, I ipomoea alba,
Treyarnon One small Ipomoea
Constantine Tag 2006 27361229 purple
Pink 3 1864 biodegradable
Porthcothan Kevin: Chris Castner 2380 F/V Julie
Porthcothan Kevin: Foy Brown 13101
Unidentified seed possibly rubber tree seed or small nutmeg?
Treyarnon FC07005 Guardian 0934-712444
I necklace pod seed- Sophora tomentosa
Porthcothan I macuna bean
Tags Go4 MPO/DFO Homard no 067583 white –cut
Mauve- cut- 2007 DFO Lobster –9—-
2007 MPO Homard –9—-
Harlyn Orange –cut- 320780 3 1368 RI 07 EEZ
Brown very old unreadable,
Porthcothan I macuna
2 Ipomoea Alba, 2 calestegia I sea pea, I pres caprae,
3 small Ipomoea
Porthcothan I macuna, I unidentified seed possibly Lotus seed
Porthcothan Grey Nickarnut
Treyarnon Tropical almond, I ipomoea Alba
Porthcothan possible Madagascar Olive seed
01/05/2014 to 30/03/2014
2 nickarnuts, I macuna, 2 ipomoea alba.
5 ipomoea alba, 2 ipomoea pes caprae, 4 small ipomoea
I Sea heart