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It's a Grey Nickerbean!

Aug 03, 2021

Yesterday, on our daily walk in sunny south Florida, we decided to take the street route, instead of the beach route for a change of scenery.

I'm glad we did because it really was an adventure in native plants. What you may not know about me is that I have a special place in my heart for gardening and gardeners.

Generations of women in my family have loved imagining, designing and cultivating life from seeds. To give you an idea how significant gardens are to me, for my birthday, Anne and I went to Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park in Canandaigua, New York and toured the entire site, every square inch, and then picnicked by one of the glorious ponds.

So when we were walking down South Ocean Drive the other day and came across this very interesting plant, I took plenty of pictures of it so that I could learn about it later.

There is something about this plant that caught my attention. I now know it's a common plant in tropical locations commonly known as the grey nickerbean.

The fruit itself is prickly and dangerous looking and there were hundreds of them at various stages of their life cycle. The most interesting ones to me, were the ones where the fruit is drying and turning brown at the same time, revealing a beautiful pearl like seed inside.

It reminded me...of me.

  • I used to be very prickly on the outside sending the message to others to "beware" and to approach with caution.
  • There is a surprise for others to experience inside of me when I allow them to.
  • That pearl-like seed is buoyant so that it's can easily spread to other locations especially by water. I love to be around water... any kind. This summer, I have spent a lot of my spare time capturing the beauty, serenity and power of local waterfalls in Central New York.

What I loved the most about this plant is the tall yellow blooms of flowers that are fragrant and majestic. You can't miss the plant if you're driving down the road.

It is bold, and proud and protective of the plants that it grows over with it's vines and spiny pods.

As we gain awareness around ourselves and our life, we find connection to other things in nature. And they teach us something about ourselves.

I learned something from the grey nickerbean plant about myself. Be strong, be protective, and at the same time, be beautiful, be soft, let others appreciate me.

Have a look around the space you are in right now or try this the next time you are outside in nature. It's really enlightening and inspiring to compare yourself to another form of life on the planet.

See if there is something that represents you in some way or better yet, just pick something in your field of awareness and ask, "How am I like "x" and how am I different?"

I'd love to hear about  what you found around you, in nature, and what insights you found.

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