Drift seed

Drift seeds (also sea beans) and drift fruits are seeds and fruits adapted for long distance dispersal by water. Most are produced by tropical trees, and they can be found on distant beaches after drifting thousands of miles through ocean currents. Consequently, drift seeds and fruits are of interest to scientists who study these currents.

In botanical terminology, a drift fruit is a kind of diaspore, and drift seeds and fruits are disseminules.

Sources of drift seeds

Drift seeds of three legume species found at Kanda on the southern Mozambique coast in May 2004:
1. Snuff box sea bean (Entada rheedii)
2. Grey nickernut (Caesalpinia bonduc)
3. a,b Colour forms of ox-eye beans (Mucuna gigantea)

Sources of drift fruits


Enthusiasts founded an annual convention in 1996, the International Sea-bean Symposium, dedicated to the display, study, and dissemination of information concerning drift seeds and other flotsam.

Drift seeds and drift fruits
Nickernuts in fruit capsule
Seaheart seeds
Box fruit found washed up on a beach at Mnazi Bay, Tanzania, December 2006
Puzzle fruit found washed up on a beach at Mnazi Bay, December 2006


  1. 1 2 Armstrong, Wayne P. (May 2001). "Notes On The Ocean Dispersal of Coral Beans" (PDF). The Drifting Seed. 7 (1): 5–6.
  2. Ackerman, J. (October 2000). "New Eyes on the Oceans". National Geographic Magazine: 112–113.
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