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What's a Sea-Bean?
AND OTHER COMMONLY ASKED SEA-BEAN QUESTIONS
Sea-beans (also known as drift seeds) are seeds and fruits that are carried to the ocean, often by freshwater streams and rivers, then drift with the ocean currents and (hopefully!) wash ashore.
Why do sea-beans float?
Sea-beans often float because they have an internal air pocket within the seed. This air pocket is often trapped by the hard outer covering of the hard beans called "shinies" (which can you can polish to a nice shine). Other seeds are less dense with a soft, punky outer covering (the "corkies") and may themselves be lighter than water (fresh water and salt water) but may also have tiny air pockets within. The late John Dennis is known for his foresight in testing the floatation duration for several seeds, with some tests now extending for 32 years! ...Ed Perry now continues those experiments.
When and where can I find sea-beans?
Sea-beans drift onto beaches around the world, particularly after higher-than-normal tides during hurricane season. The number of beans you can find in a day will vary with time of year, Gulf Stream variations, offshore hurricane activity, wind and temperature changes, and tropical plant abundance for a particular year.
In Florida, September and October are typically the most bountiful times to find sea-beans. Tides leave behind drift seeds along with seaweed, driftwood, tar, trash, and toys. This line of debris on the beach is called the wrack. With each successive tide, the wrack is pushed farther toward the dune line. However, sometimes a high tide will sweep over the wrack and pull it back out to sea, carrying the seaweed and drift seeds to another beach. Ocean currents, connected to each other in a huge global transit system, can carry sea-beans from current to current- so, a seed from Jamaica could travel to Florida, then to New Jersey, and then across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom.
Can I eat sea-beans?
Sea-beans are studied for medicinal uses, and a few are available commercially as nutritional supplements. Edible drift seeds (when fresh from the plant!) are the coconut, the Tropical Almond and the Hog Plum.
What's A Sea-Bean?
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