Entada gigas, commonly known as the monkey-ladder, sea bean, cœur de la mer or sea heart, is a species of flowering liana in the pea family, Fabaceae of the Mimosa subfamily, which is often raised to family rank (Mimosaceae). They are native to Central America, the Caribbean, northern South America, and Africa. It is notable for having the family's largest seedpods, which measure 12 cm (4.7 in) across and can reach 2 m (6.6 ft) in length. There have been reports of pods up to eight feet (2.5 meters) in length. This pod, like all legumes, is a single carpel, the largest carpel of any known plant. Inside the pods are ten to fifteen seeds, each of which have a diameter of 6 cm (2.4 in) and a thickness of 2 cm (0.79 in). The seeds contain a hollow cavity, which gives them buoyancy. After being washed by rain into rivers and then the ocean, the seeds of E. gigas drift long distances on ocean currents. Seed buoyancy and vitality lasts at least two years.
Entada gigas seeds, resembling hearts
|Illustration from Paul Hermann Wilhelm Taubert's Natürliche Pflanzenfamilien. Vol. III, 3|
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