Lucky Bean Creeper
Abrus precatorius subsp. africanus
The pods of this slender vine split open to reveal attractive scarlet and black seeds which are known as Lucky beans. They cling to the plant for a long period, being conspicuous during winter.
In South Africa the plant is found Kwazulu Natal and the Limpopo Province and is a common roadside plant in many parts of the world.
The pods can be seen from June to October. Each pod is triangular in shape, 30 mm long and splits open to reveal the shiny red-and-black 'lucky bean' seeds. The seeds are poisonous and contain abrin, which is released if the pod is eaten.
The Lucky Bean is also known by a number of others names including: bead vine, coral bead plant, coral bean, crabs eye, love bean, prayer beads, prayer bean and the rosary bean. The plant secretes a toxin that causes vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Despite this the seeds are popular in necklaces for their bright colours, and they are used by kids as toys.