lucky bean, noun phrase

Origin:
See quotation 1966.
1.
a. The scarlet, black-eyed seed of the creeper Abrus precatorius of the Fabaceae. Also attributive.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 326Lucky bean, Abrus precatorius...The plants are reported as being toxic to stock...The beans are a brilliant red, with a black ‘eye’ and were used as ornaments and worn in necklaces or armlets as charms for luck, whence the vernacular name.
1972 I.C. Verdoorn in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. VII. 57Lucky Bean,..(Abrus precatorius)...The most striking feature is the bright, shiny, red seed with a black patch at one end.
1991 Dict. of Horticulture (Dept of Nat. Educ.) 337Lucky bean, (Abrus precatorius subsp. africanus).
b. In full lucky bean creeper: the creeping plant which bears these seeds.
1984 J. Onderstall Tvl Lowveld & Escarpment 110Abrus precatorius subsp. africanus. Lucky Bean Creeper. The clustered pods are very striking.., splitting open to display the shiny red-and-black ‘lucky bean’ seeds...The seeds are extremely poisonous.
2.
a. The scarlet, black-eyed seed of any of several species of coral tree (Erythrina spp.), especially E. caffra of the Fabaceae; Kaffrarian pea, see Kaffrarian. Also attributive.
1970 J. McIntosh Stonefish 231He..brushed away fallen red, black-eyed lucky beans.
1972 G.L.F. Hartwig in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. VI. 264The large, poisonous seeds, scarlet with a black spot, are known as lucky beans, Kaffir beans, Kaffrarian peas or cocky-doodles.
1975 E. Prov. Herald 21 May 22The Erythrina humeana seeds are red ‘lucky beans’ which should germinate easily and are best planted in spring. This is a shrubby form of Kaffirboom flowering spectacularly in summer not winter.
1984 Scientiae Vol.25 No.2, 25South African researchers have discovered that the use of an extract from the ‘lucky bean’, the seed of the coral tree (Erythrina latissima), simplifies the method of preparing an experimental drug used successfully to dissolve blood clots blocking the flow of blood to the heart.
1989 E. Prov. Herald 11 Jan. 8Only the highest quality ‘lucky bean’ seeds, and only 50kg of them.
b. In full lucky bean tree: a tree bearing such seeds. See also kaffirboom (offensive).
[1960 W. Plomer in D. Wright S. Afr. Stories 188Frant stood under the bean tree with his feet among the open pods and little black-and-scarlet beans that had fallen from it.]
1970 J. McIntosh Stonefish 16There were splashes of scarlet on the hillsides, the sprays of lucky-bean trees.
1970 J. McIntosh Stonefish 230A lucky-bean tree whose split pods showed bright-red drops.
1972 G.L.F. Hartwig in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. 264Coral-tree, Lucky-bean tree, (Erythrina caffra and E. lysistemon.) These two closely related species of Erythrina are among the best-known South African trees.
1984 S. Afr. Panorama Nov. 26A decoction of the leaves of the common lucky bean tree, E. lysistemon, is highly regarded as a cure for earache.
1984 A. Wannenburgh Natural Wonder of Sn Afr. 16In late winter, even before its new leaves have sprouted, a lucky bean tree growing beneath the remnants of a castle kopje raises dense heads of scarlet flowers on the ends of naked stalks.
1985 E. Prov. Herald 27 Feb. 10The count of Coral or Lucky Bean trees in Port Elizabeth has risen to 450.
1993 Grocott’s Mail 6 Aug. 9Erythrina lysistemon..Lucky Bean Tree.
The scarlet, black-eyed seed of the creeper Abrus precatorius of the Fabaceae. Also attributive.
the creeping plant which bears these seeds.
The scarlet, black-eyed seed of any of several species of coral tree (Erythrina spp.), especially E. caffra of the Fabaceae; Kaffrarian pea, see Kaffrarian. Also attributive.
a tree bearing such seeds.

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