Scientific Name: Abrus precatorius
Tamil Name: Kundrimani
Description: It is a slender, perennial climber that twines around trees, shrubs, and hedges. It is a legume with long, pinnate-leafleted leaves. The plant is best known for its seeds, which are used as beads and in percussion instruments. The seeds are toxic due to the presence of Abrin.
Habitat and distribution: The plant is native to India and Sri Lanka and grows in tropical and subtropical areas of the world where it has been introduced. It has a tendency to become weedy and invasive where it has been introduced. It had been widely introduced by humans, and the brightly coloured and hard-shelled seeds had been spread by birds.
Note: It is popularly used as the Lord Ganesh’s eyes that are made of clay during Ganesh festival. The seeds of Abrus precatorius are much valued in native jewelry for their bright coloration. They are also used extensively in native medicine for treating a variety of illnesses.
Photo source: Mr. N. Muthu Karthick