Saturday, January 16, 2010

Drift Seeds, Part 3

Hamburger Bean (mucuna)

A strange looking drift seed we found on the beach is the hamburger bean. When we first found one on the beach we weren't sure if it was a drift seed or some sort of man-made object.

The hamburger bean looks less than natural because its shell appears to be made out of some sort of plastic material. In fact, it not only looks like plastic, it feels like plastic. After passing the hamburger bean back and forth, we determined it was in fact a seed and took it home.

It turns out there are many varieties of hamburger beans. Our hamburger bean appears to be from the mucuna family. The mucuna is a species of climbing, woody vines that are found world-wide in tropical regions. We have no idea exactly what type of mucana it is, but our guess it is a mucuna urens.

The outer shell of the hamburger bean is so water tight that propagation requires you to score the seed in some fashion to allow water to reach the inside. According to the best way to do this is to file or sand a seed edge and soak the seed for 24 hours. Once water gets inside, the seed will swell breaking the hamburger bean open.

Not knowing exactly what this drift seed will turn out to be, or how it may potentially impact the garden, we intend to plant it in a pot and see what happens.


  1. I'm so excited that somebody has a blog with seabeans! I've been collecting them for a few years and like to polish them. I also planted a mucuna sea bean by drilling a hole through the end of the hilium, soaking it and planting it. It proved to be Jack's beanstalk and grew faster than what i could keep up with and died when I missed a watering. There was nothing more rewarding than planting a seed from the rainforest that washed up on the beach. Great blog, by the way!

  2. What a hamburger - never seen one like that.

  3. I have one of those. A friend gave it to me years ago, he found it washed up on a beach in the canary islands and thought of me right away! I asked him why? He answered, because it seemed very UFO and u always go on about ufos! lol..i never knew what it was until this moment.


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