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What are sea beans?

Ever seen these little bean-like things wash up ashore alongside the Corpus Christi beaches? These little things are called sea-beans!

Sea beans are seeds and seed pods from tropical plants that float the world’s oceans for years, coming from the west coast of Africa, the Amazon Basin, or the islands of the Caribbean before appearing on the Padre Island National Seashore. They come in all shapes and sizes and make for an excellent beachcombing activity. Pro Tip: Check out Big Shell beach for another excellent spot for beach combing in the Gulf Coast Capital!

These sea beans or aka "drift seeds" float very well with their little air pockets, and may ride the tides for years before finally coming to rest onshore. According to the Padre Island National Seashore magazine The Gulf Breeze, sea beans have been the subject of folklore and have gained reputations for remedies and cures. Artisans take sea beans and turn them into beautiful jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets and pins. Don’t eat them though! They are for collecting and craft purposes only.

Hamburger bean

Don’t confuse this seed for a Whataburger Jr.! These seeds are from a vine of the pea family which grows in Africa and also in Central and South America. It is also referred to as the “deer’s eye” in England and the “horse’s eye” in Mexico. The folklore is that it can bring good luck and ward off the evil eye. Source: Ron Kratzer, The Gulf Breeze magazine.

Sea heart beans

This heart-shaped seed is from the monkey ladder vine originating in Brazil. This vine winds it way high into the rain forest canopy along the Amazon River. This is a prize for collectors because it polishes nicely and the heart shape will look beautiful on necklaces or bracelets. Source: Ron Kratzer, The Gulf Breeze magazine.

Sea bean variety:

There are SO many types of seabeans! Use this chart when out on your beachcombing adventure and tag us with #SeeCC to share your experience!

Sea Beans Chart