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Abrus precatorius L.
Family Fabaceae
Subfamily Faboideae
Common name: Gidee Gidee, Crab's Eye Vine

Abrus precatorius L. APNI*

Description: Woody twiner with stems to 10 m long. Stems with sparse white indumentum.

Leaves 14–34-foliolate; leaflets oblong, parallel-sided or slightly wider towards tip, rounded at both ends, 5–25 mm long, 3–8 mm wide, with sparse white indumentum; stipules 3–5 mm long, narrow and pointed, hairy, persistent; stipels 0.1–0.3 mm long.

Inflorescence a dense pseudoraceme; peduncle 3–8 cm long; rachis 1.5–5 cm long. Pedicels c. 1 mm long. Calyx shallowly lobed, c. 3 mm long, sparsely hairy. Standard c. 8 mm long, 6 mm wide, greenish white, purplish at margins; wings c. 12 mm long, white to pale pink; keel slightly longer than wings, white.

Pods 20–43 mm long, 12–15 mm wide, hairy, brown and woody when ripe; seeds 3–7, ellipsoidal, 5–7 mm long, 4–5 mm wide, shiny, black basally, scarlet to reddish brown distally, persistent on fruit for several months.


Flowering: Flowers in summer.

Distribution and occurrence: In NSW north from Brunswick Heads. Native of Tropical Asia and tropical and subtropical Africa.
NSW subdivisions: *NC
Other Australian states: Qld N.T. W.A.
AVH map***

There are 2 subspecies : Abrus precatorius subsp. precatorius is native to northern Australia and occurs in Queensland, Western Australia and the Nothern Territory, and in Malaysia. Abrus precatorius subsp. africanus is naturalised in Australia. The difference between subspecies can easliy be seen when the plant is in fruit, when looking at the surface and length of the pod. In Abrus precatorius subsp. precatorius the surface of the pods are smooth, with the pod length 3.1-4.3 cm long.; in Abrus precatorius subsp. africanus the pods have tuberculate hairs and pod length is 2-3.5 cm long.

Text by Text updated Louisa Murray Feb 2014
Taxon concept:

One subspecies in NSW : Abrus precatorius subsp. africanus

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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