Toxic Beauty, SLR/IRL

Growing up in Stuart in the 1970s, my mother and father gave me full reign to explore the undeveloped lands in the area of St Lucie Estates. I remember endless summers, wandering around in “the woods” and of course my eyes were drawn to the vine of the widely dispersed, perfectly shaped, red and black seeds known as rosary peas.

I would collect them tightly in my little, sweaty hands, pushing them far down into my pockets. I recall the first time I brought them home, my mother said, “Yes, they are very pretty, but don’t eat them, they are poisonous.”

“Hmmm,”I thought. “How can something beautiful be poisonous?”

I continued to collect the seeds, and over the years filled up many clear glass bottles that sat in my window sill; the sun never fading their brilliant color.

Later in life, I learned that bright color patterns, especially red, black, and yellow, as with some caterpillars, or the famous, shy, and deadly coral snake, are “warnings” in nature and actually provide the animal with protection from being eaten.

As I walk through Hawk’s Bluff today, I am thankful to my parents who allowed me to explore the natural world and grow confident, unafraid, even with all of its toxic beauty.

Rosary pea, known many other names:

Colors in Nature:

11 thoughts on “Toxic Beauty, SLR/IRL

  1. Please visit our Website. Put your Mung Bean seeds into this SproutGrower today and tomorrow you are eating a fresh Organic Green Vegetable that has 100% of all nutrients required to sustain life. Cost of this food eaten daily is a total of only $4.00 per month. The Mung Bean is grown in most warm climates. Our equipment has been proven to be the ultimate SPROUT GROWER having been used now for 20 years in North America.

    ALL ABOUT A GREEN NATURAL MULTI-VITAMIN PILL. A New Invention takes over the Province of Ontario. Did your organization know that has 41 DISTRIBUTORS in Ontario alone selling Sprout Growers to the families in Ontario. And we have been on 12 – 1 hour TV programs in Ontario. We are doing more in Ontario than anyone else to make the Ontario Families Healthy. Please go to and see why. . This alone also should tell you that there must be something in this inexpensive food that growes and is edible in 24 hours. Many people are feeling better when they eat this simple food every morning before breakfast. 6ooo to 7000 Natural Green Multi Vitamin pills for $6.00 per month. ORGANIC DOCTOR RECOMMENDED

    ALL your bodies nutrients in one natural plll. A true, Green Multi Vitamin Pill. Certified Organic quality.

    905-681-6908 Tony Hornick

  2. Great article and pictures to refresh my memory,Jacqui
    Looks like a fun relaxing day.

  3. Oh, Jacqui ~ Thank you for this refreshing post ! I was mindful of my thoughts a few days ago and remembered those rosary peas; Nan Billings at Heathcote Botanical Gardens taught her young naturalists that they are highly toxic. When I taught my Art in Nature camps at the Oxbow Eco Center – that was one of the first things I shared with students. They are truly beautiful to behold (they look like lady bugs) but BEWARE because they contain abrin. Even if one seed is ingested (chewed) it can be fatal to both children and adults. THANKS FOR THE WARNING. ♥

Leave a Reply