Caesalpinia  bonduc  (L.) Roxb. Nickernut  - Fabaceae

The Aztecs believed that the seeds of the nickernut, Caesalpinia bonduc, had powerful protective powers, so wore them to ward off the Evil Eye.  In India it has been the custom for women to wear the seeds strung on red silk to prevent miscarriage.2

Nickernut is a climbing shrub native to southeast Asia but now grown in many tropical countries.  It is very common near seacoasts, the seeds having been carried ashore by the sea.

Oblong, flattened pods with a thick, spiny covering contain two to three light gray, spherical seeds about one-half inch (1 cm) in diameter.  Caesalpinia seeds bear characteristic fracture lines.  The seeds were dubbed "fevernut" for their bitter embryo used to treat fevers. They are also called "nickernuts," for they substituted as marbles in England, "nickers" being an old English term for marbles.

 

 

 

 

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