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Abrus precatorius (Crab’s Eye Pea)

This climber can be both perennial and deciduous and occurs across northern Australia and right down to NSW. In the Kimberley it is found across the west Kimberley in coastal areas, vine thickets, sandstone and limestone, but also in the North, Central and Eastern Kimberley in creeklines and similar habitat.

Abrus precatorius, known commonly as Crab’s Eye Pea, Crab Eye Bean (Vine), Rosary Pea or Giddee Giddee, is a slender climber that climbs around trees and shrubs. It is widespread behind coastal dune areas as well as in sandstone country such as Pender Bay, One Arm Point and Broome.

The beautiful red and black seeds of this plant are often made into decorative necklaces, but are poisonous so should never be ingested.

The plant is best known for its seeds, which are much valued in jewelry making for their bright and beautiful look. The seeds are very toxic and there have been cases of death recorded by finger-prick while boring the seeds for beadwork. However, if the coat of the seed is not broken the toxin is not released, and the seeds are generally safe.

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