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Beans from Vines

Coveted by collectors, Sea Purses and Saddle Beans (Dioclea sp.) are one of the rarest and most colorful of all sea beans found on any beach. Distinct color variations range from butterscotch to black.

It was originally grown in Asia, but has drifted to islands in the Caribbean and Central and South America, reproducing there. They are found growing on the Hawaiian Islands where they may have also drifted or, like so many other species, introduced by people.

All specifications are written Width x Height x Thickness / Quantity polished purchases will be matched for size and color when possible.

Mary’s Beans (Merremia discoidesperma)

Origin: Atlantic Drift / Costa Rica

Specifications: 21mm x 24mm x 14mm (± 1mm)

Price: Polished $44.95 each

The Mary’s bean is a rare find among drift material anywhere in the world and highly prized by drift seed collectors. Named after the Virgin Mary, it is also called the crucifixion bean because of a cross etched on one side of the seed, leading to it being used as a talisman and many superstitions and legends are connected with it. A woman in labor was assured an easy delivery if she clenched a Mary’s bean in her hand, and the seeds were handed down from mother to daughter as treasured keepsakes. In northern Europe the Mary’s bean was a special find to pious beach-combers. The seed had obviously survived the ocean and they felt it would extend its protection to anyone lucky enough to own one. In addition to its unique appearance, it holds the record for the longest recorded drift: 15,000 miles.


Bay Beans (Canavalia rosea)

Origin: Florida

Specifications: 10mm x 13mm (± .5mm)

Price: Polished starting at $4.95 for 20 grams (± 30 beans)

Bay beansĀ are one of the most common and plentiful of all sea-beans growing abundantly in dunes worldwide. The vines and their pods grow low along the sand and are easy to spot on the berm with long flower-studded runners. These vines protect the dunes by stabilizing the sand along with other plants. The coloration of the beans vary from mottled and swirly browns to different shades of beige.


Little Marbles (Oxyrhynchus trinervius)

Origin: Costa Rica

Specifications: 13mm x 13mm (± 1mm)

Price: Polished starting at $7.95 each

Also known as Black Pearls, these beans are plentiful in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. The parent plant is an aggressive climber in the right conditions. A rare find on North American beaches, as they are not good floaters and few get very far from their parent plant.


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