Maui November 2012 Trip #3
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     Home        Part 1: Coastal Plants        Part 2: Haleakala Subalpine        Part 3: Drift Seeds        Part 4: Insects & Spiders  
Part 3: Drift Seeds On West Maui Beaches
© W.P. Armstrong 28 November 2012

Author beachcombing for sea beans and other drift seeds.

Sea beans (Mucuna gigantea ssp. gigantea). These flattened "hamburger" seeds are produced on a vine (liana) high in the rain forest. I have seen this species along the rain-soaked Hana coast at the east end of the island. The seeds from Maui are typically tan-colored without mottling. Two varieties of M. sloanei are also recognized in the revised Flora of Hawaii (1999), indigenous var. sloanei on Kauai, Oahu and Maui, and the endemic variety persericea on the east coast of Maui. Nikon D-90.

  • Wilmot-Dear, C.M. 1989. "A Revision of Mucuna (Leguminosae-Phaseoleae) in the Pacific." Kew Bulletin 45 (1): 1-35.
  •   See The Wayne's Word Article About Sea Beans  
    Sea Beans (Mucuna) On The Hawaiian Islands

    Left: Pendent flower cluster of Mucuna gigantea ssp. gigantea hanging from the rain forest canopy on the east coast of Maui. Right: Seeds of M. gigantea ssp. gigantea. Populations of this species on Maui produce brown or tan seeds without mottling. The mottled seed at the top of photo and the seeds in necklace came from the island of Hawaii.

    Why Is A Sea Bean Sometimes Called A "Hamburger Seed"?

    A sea bean Mucuna gigantea ssp. gigantea collected on a West Maui beach on 22 November 2012. It truly resembles a miniature hamburger, especially when compared with an order of fries! I must confess that I greatly reduced the size of the plate and fries. The sea bean is only 22 mm in diamter (just under one inch). Nikon D-90.

    Kukui nuts (Aleurites molucanna) washed ashore on a beach and a kukui nut bracelet. Althought it is not native, the kukui nut tree has been designated the official state tree of Hawaii. Nikon D-90.

      See The Wayne's Word Article About Kukui Nuts