by (the late) Nick Darke


26th Feb - 23th March 1999

During the period to 7th March there were strong westerly (NW & SW) winds combined with a making tide (neap to spring, 7.0 m on 3rd March) The beans picked up in this period were fresh strandings

From 7th - 21st March the tides were neap and the wind had dropped. Most of the beans collected had come in with the combination of strong onshore winds and spring tides and were found on the upper strandlines, left by the earlier high tides

On the 21st of March the wind got up again and we started to find fresh strandings, though in many cases it was difficult to determine whether a bean near the upper strandlines (wed had a high spring tide on 19th) were fresh strandings or washbacks from an earlier tide.

The name bulls eye (as opposed to the more common horse eye) is taken from the local Central American name ojo de buey which means eye of the bull. They are also known as hamburger beans. (A hamburger is bulls eye thats been mashed up, fried and stuck in a bap)

Feb 26th
1 sea heart (Entada gigas)  Porthcothan

Feb 27th
1 bulls eye (Mucuna)   Porthcothan

Feb 28th
1 sea heart    Porthcothan
1 sea heart    Mawgan Porth

March 1st
1 sea heart    Mawgan Porth
1 bulls eye   Mawgan Porth
2 bulls eyes    Watergate
1 sea purse (Dioclea)   Watergate
2 sea hearts    Treyarnon
1 sea heart    Constantine

March 2nd
2 bulls eyes    Watergate
1 sea purse   Watergate
2 sea hearts    Treyarnon
2 sea hearts    Constantine
2 sea hearts    Boobys Bay
1 bulls eye    Porthcothan
1 starnut palm seed (Astrocaryum) Mawgan Porth

March 3rd
1 bulls eye    Treyarnon
1 bulls eye    Constantine
2 sea hearts    Constantine
2 sea hearts    Porthcothan (1 at Totty Cove)
1 bulls eye    Porthcothan
1 sea purse    Porthcothan
1 sea heart    Porthmear (St. Eval)
1 bulls eye    Porthmear (St. Eval)
1 coconut (Cocos nucifera)   Porthmear (St. Eval)

March 4th
3 sea hearts    Mawgan Porth (in a line, 10ft apart)

March 5th
1 bulls eye    Watergate
1 sea purse    Mawgan Porth
1 bulls eye    Porthcothan
2 bulls eyes    Harlyn
1 sea heart    Harlyn
1 sea heart    Constantine

March 6th
3 bulls eyes    Constantine
2 bulls eyes    Trevone (Newtrain Bay)
1 sea purse    Trevone (Newtrain)
1 sea heart    Trevone (Newtrain)

March 7th
1 grey nickernut (Caesalpinia bonduc) Polzeath
1 bulls eye    Mawgan Porth
2 bulls eyes    Polzeath (upper strandline)
1 sea heart    Polzeath (upper strandline)
2 sea hearts    Little Polzeath (upper strandline)
1 sea purse    Little Polzeath (upper strandline)

March 9th
1 bulls eye    Porthmear (St. Eval) (upper strandline)

March 12th
3 bulls eyes    Perranporth (2 upper, 1 fresh, neap, strandline)
1 sea purse    Perranporth (upper strandline)
1 grey nickernut   Perranporth (upper strandline)
1 starnut palm   Perranporth (upper strandline)

March 13th
1 grey nickernut   Porthcothan (upper strandline)
1 morning glory (Ipomoea) Porthcothan (upper strandline)

March 14th
1 bulls eye   Watergate (upper strandline)
1 grey nickernut  Porthcothan (upper strandline)
1 bulls eye    Port Joke (upper strandline)
1 grey nickernut   Port Joke (upper strandline)
1 morning glory  Port Joke

March 16th
1 bulls eye   Watergate (fresh)
1 bulls eye   Mawgan Porth (upper)
3 sea hearts   Gwithian (upper)
1 sea purse   Gwithian (upper
2 bulls eyes   Gwithian (upper)
1 bulls eye    Porthtowan (upper)

March 19th
1 morning glory  Porthmear (St. Eval)

March 21st
Wind NW, 6-7 overnight, tide spring - neap 7.2m
1 bulls eye    Porthcothan (fresh)
1 sea heart    Mawgan Porth (fresh or washback)
2 bulls eyes   Mawgan Porth (washbacks)
1 sea heart    Watergate (washback or fresh)
1 bulls eye    Watergate (washback or fresh)
1 sea heart    Perranporth (washback or fresh)
1 bulls eye    Perranporth (washback or fresh)
3 grey nickernuts  Perranporth (washbacks or fresh)
4 morning glory  Perranporth (old strandline)
1 sea heart   Harlyn (old strandline)

March 22nd
2 sea hearts   Perranporth (1 fresh, 1 upper strandline)
5 bulls eyes   Perranporth (2 fresh, 3 upper strandlines)
1 sea purse   Perranporth (upper strandline, square, black)
1 bay bean (Canavalia rosea) Perranporth (upper strandline)
8 morning glory  Perranporth (upper strandlines)

March 23rd
1 sea heart   Trevone (Newtrain Bay, fresh)

Total (Feb 26th - March 23nd 1999):

37 sea hearts (Entada gigas)
44 bulls eyes (Mucuna)
9 sea purses (Dioclea)
7 grey nickernuts (Caesalpinia bonduc)
3 starnut palm seeds (Astrocaryum)
1 bay bean (Canavalia rosea)
1 coconut (Cocos nucifera)
15 morning glory (Ipomoea alba)

117 seabeans

I've included morning glory seeds because though they are grown in this country, they don't produce seeds and it can be assumed that what we find on the strandline is a dispersal and not domestic


Click on the image for more information

Sea Beans on facebook

27 January 2002
Brown Nickernut (Entada gigas)  at Whitsand Bay, S.E. Cornwall, for your record .
 Stuart Eddy

3 February 2002
Joyce Froome and  Jane and Nick Darrke were delighted to find an example of the rare Mary's Bean, or  Crucifixion Bean  so called because of the  indented cross.  Its scientific name if Merremia discoidesperma and a mature plant can reach 30  metres in the tropical rain frosts of America, from which this seed will  have drifted on to Porthcothan Beach (SW 8752 on the north Cornish  coast.  No seed has more folklore than this one which is sometimes chased  in silver and regarded as a talismanic heirloom.

  Reports from Stella Turk on the Cornish Mailing List

25 January 2008
This is one of the Sea Hearts, Entada gigas, I found on Lohar Beach, Waterville, Co. Kerry, Eire. I found another one on Waterville Beach on the 10 March 2008 and another one on 12 March 2008 on Lohar Beach.

In total I've found eight of them in the last year, all on local Irish beaches.

Report by Rosemary Hill

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