Rare seed from heart of Amazon rainforest is found on British beach

Bean around the world! Rare seed from heart of Amazon rainforest is found on British beach after drifting 5,000 miles across the Atlantic on ocean currents

  • Jim Gale, 31, picked up small sea heart bean on visit to Lulworth Cove in Dorset 
  • Bean – which looks like a conker – would have fallen from a vine in South America
  • Then dropped into Amazon River tributary and been washed into Atlantic Ocean
  • It would have taken more than a year to be swept by Gulf Stream towards the UK

A rare bean that has travelled more than 5,000 miles from the Brazilian rainforest has been found washed up on a beach in Britain.

Stunned beachcomber Jim Gale, 31, picked up the small sea heart bean – which looks like an oversized conker – during a visit to Lulworth Cove in Dorset.

The bean would have fallen from a monkey ladder vine in South America, dropped into a tributary of the Amazon River and then been washed into the Atlantic Ocean.

Stunned beachcomber Jim Gale, 31, picked up the small sea heart bean – which looks like an oversized conker – during a visit to Lulworth Cove in Dorset

The heart-shaped bean – entada gigas in Latin – was found by Mr Gale while he was out walking at Lulworth Cove

It would have taken more than a year to be swept by the Gulf Stream towards the UK. Recent storms and strong south westerly winds led to it being washed up in Dorset.

The heart-shaped bean – entada gigas in Latin – was found by Mr Gale while he was out walking at Lulworth Cove. He said: ‘I am a bit of a beachcomber.


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‘The best time to do it is after a period of rough weather. I knew what a sea heart looks like but it was very difficult to spot as Lulworth is a stony beach.

‘It looked like a bit of a squashed conker and had a very hard outer casing. I have no doubt that it came from tropical South America.

The bean would have fallen from a monkey ladder vine in South America, dropped into a tributary of the Amazon River (file picture) and then been washed into the Atlantic Ocean

Stunned beachcomber Mr Gale picked up the bean during a visit to Lulworth Cove (file image)

‘It probably began its journey hundreds, if not thousands, of miles inland having dropped into a tributary. It made its way down a river system and into the southern Atlantic. 

‘Currents then took it north and then the Gulf Stream would have propelled it across the Atlantic, into the English Channel and straight into Lulworth Cove. It could have been in the sea for well over a year.’

Pods grown on monkey ladder vines contain between ten and 15 beans which stay afloat in the water. Their hard shell allows them to drift thousands of miles by sea with the currents.

The beans are not edible and are usually fashioned into trinkets and useful objects such as lockets.

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