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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/24/2013)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 9/24/2013)
Species Abrus precatorius L.
PlaceOfPublication Syst. Nat., ed. 12. 2: 472. 1767
Note LECTOTYPE: Ceylon, Hermann, Fl. Zeylan. 284 (BM, not seen), fide Breteler 1960.
Description Slender vine; stems twining, pubescent with appressed white hairs, glabres- cent. Leaves pinnate with 5-13 pairs of leaflets; leaflets oblong to ovate, mostly 9-15 mm long, 5-7 mm wide, apically rounded or truncate and mucronulate, sometimes acute, basally obtuse, rounded or truncate; petiolules 0.5-1 mm long; petioles shorter than the width of a leaflet; rachis mostly 7-10 cm long, sparingly pubescent with ascending hairs; stipels minute, following the rachis; stipules sub- ulate, 1-2 mm long. Inflorescences leafless pseudoracemes; peduncles stouter than the petioles and often stouter than the stems, 6-10 cm long, bearing ca. 4 pairs of minute bracts along the length; rachis strongly angled, somewhat con- gested, 3-6 cm long, the flowers 1-15 per node, pedicels 1-2 mm long, glabrous except for the apical swelling. Flowers white or pinkish, ca. 1 cm long, calyx cupular, ca. 2 mm long with low teeth, sparingly short pubescent; standard ob- ovate, 8-9 mm long, the wing petals upcurved, ca. 6 mm long, stamens not exserted. Legume oblong, somewhat oblique, ca. 2.5 cm long, 1.5 cm wide,
Habit vine
Description hardly stipitate, the beak slender, 3-5 cm long, downturned, dehiscent along 1 margin, the valves softly pubescent, compressed but bulging over the seeds; seeds 5-6, subglobose or slightly compressed ovoid, bright shiny scarlet with a black area near the hilum, ca. 6 mm long, the hilum depressed, ca. 1 mm long.
Note Abrus precatorius is usually immediately recognizable by its bright shiny red and black seeds. The vine bears leaves with many leaflets, and the congested pseudoracemes of small flowers is also distinctive, but these characteristics may lead to confusion with members of the Phaseoleae.
Distribution occurs in tropical and warm temperate countries on both hemi- spheres. In Panama it is apparently confined to the Caribbean coast.
Note The bright seeds of this species are much used for beads. They contain highly toxic compounds and a single seed may be lethal to a man if the hard seed coat is broken before ingestion. The toxic principle is also found in the roots although the roots are reportedly eaten as food in India.
Common Precatory Beads Bejuco de Peronia
Common Bejuco de Peonia
Specimen BOCAS DEL TORO: Chiriqui Lagoon, Wedel 1304, 1308 (GH, MO). Water Valley, Wedel 1371 (GH), 1410 (GH, MO). Isla Col6n, Wedel 2822 (GH). SAN BLAS: Mainland Point, Duke 8981 (MO). Ailigandi, Dwyer 6828 (MO). Mainland opposite Ailigandi, Lewis et al. 77 (GH, MO). Playon Chico, Stier 153 (MO).
 
 
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