Taxon: Abrus precatorius L.

Genus: Abrus
Family: Fabaceae (alt.Leguminosae)
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Abreae
Nomen number: 739
Place of publication: Syst. nat. ed. 12, 2:472. 1767
Link to protologue:
Name Verified on: 21-Oct-1986 by ARS Systematic Botanists. Last Changed: 22-Jul-2010
Species priority site is: Natl. Germplasm Repository - Miami (MIA)
Accessions: 4 in National Plant Germplasm System

Common names:

Economic Importance:

  • Environmental: ornamental (fide Mansf Ency)
  • Materials: beads (fide Names Soukup; Bot Beads World; as,)
  • Medicines: folklore (fide CRC MedHerbs ed2; Herbs Commerce ed2; Biodiv Conserv 13:461. 2004)
  • Vertebrate poisons: mammals (fide Kingsbury; Lampe & McCann)
  • Weed: potential seed contaminant (fide Atlas WWeed)

Distributional Range:


  • Africa

    • East Tropical Africa: Kenya ; Tanzania ; Uganda
    • Northeast Tropical Africa: Sudan
    • Southern Africa: Botswana ; Namibia ; South Africa Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga; Swaziland
    • West Tropical Africa: Niger ; Togo
    • West-Central Tropical Africa: Rwanda
    • Western Indian Ocean: Madagascar ; Mauritius ; Seychelles
  • Asia-Temperate

    • China: China Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan
    • Eastern Asia: Taiwan
  • Asia-Tropical

    • Indian Subcontinent: Bangladesh ; India ; Pakistan ; Sri Lanka
    • Indo-China: Cambodia ; Laos ; Myanmar ; Thailand ; Vietnam
    • Malesia: Indonesia ; Malaysia ; Philippines
    • Papuasia: Papua New Guinea
  • Australasia

    • Australia: Australia Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia
  • Pacific

    • Northwestern Pacific: Micronesia
    • South-Central Pacific: French Polynesia Tuamotu Archipelago
    • Southwestern Pacific: Fiji

  • Naturalized



  • Aldén, B., S. Ryman, & M. Hjertson Svensk Kulturväxtdatabas, SKUD (Swedish Cultivated and Utility Plants Database; online resource on 2012 (Kulturvaxtdatabas)
  • Aubréville, A. et al., eds. Flore du Cambodge du Laos et du Viet-Nam. (F CambLVN)
  • Boudet, G. et al. Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Mali. 1986 (L Mali)
  • Breteler, F. J. 1960. Revision of Abrus Adanson (Pap.) with special reference to Africa (Blumea) 10:617.
  • Brunel, J. F. et al., eds. Flore analytique du Togo. Phanerogames. 1984 (F Togo)
  • Dassanayake, M. D. & F. R. Fosberg, eds. A revised handbook to the flora of Ceylon. (F Ceylon)
  • Duke, J. A. et al. CRC Handbook of medicinal herbs. 2002 (CRC MedHerbs ed2)
  • Encke, F. et al. Zander: Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen, 13. Auflage. 1984 (Zander ed13)
  • Fosberg, F. R. et al. Geographical checklist of the Micronesian Dicotyledonae/ Pteridophyta and Gymnospermae. (L Micrones)
  • Germishuizen, G. & N. L. Meyer, eds. Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14. 2003 (Pl SAfr ed2)
  • Grierson, A. J. C. & D. J. Long Flora of Bhutan including a record of plants from Sikkim. (F Bhutan)
  • Groth, D. 2005. pers. comm. (pers. comm.)
  • Hanelt, P., ed. Mansfeld's encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural crops. Volumes 1-6. 2001 (Mansf Ency)
  • Hara, H. et al. An enumeration of the flowering plants of Nepal. (L Nepal)
  • Holm, L. et al. A geographical atlas of world weeds. 1979 (Atlas WWeed)
  • Howard, R. Flora of the lesser Antilles. (F LAnt)
  • Huang, S. F. & T. C. Huang Taxonomic treatment of the Papilionoideae (Leguminosae) of Taiwan. Taiwania 32:11-117. 1987 (Leg Taiwan)
  • Integrated Botanical Information System (IBIS) Australian plant common name database (on-line resource). (Aust Pl Common Names)
  • Kala, C. P. et al. 2004. Prioritization of medicinal plants on the basis of available knowledge, existing practices and use value status in Uttaranchal, India Biodivers. & Conservation 13:461.
  • Keay, R. W. J. & F. N. Hepper Flora of west tropical Africa, ed. 2. (F WT Afr)
  • Kellerman, T. S. et al. Plant poisonings and mycotoxicoses of livestock in Southern Africa. 1988 (Kellerman et al.)
  • Kingsbury, J. M. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. (Kingsbury)
  • Lampe, K. F. & M. A. McCann AMA handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. 1985 (Lampe & McCann)
  • Lazarides, M. & B. Hince CSIRO Handbook of Economic Plants of Australia. 1993 (Econ Pl Aust)
  • Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium Hortus third. (Hortus 3)
  • Lock, J. M. Legumes of Africa: a checklist. 1989 (Leg Africa)
  • Lock, J. M. & J. Heald Legumes of Indochina: a checklist. 1994 (Leg Indochina)
  • McGuffin, M., J. T. Kartesz, A. Y. Leung, & A. O. Tucker Herbs of commerce, ed. 2. 2000 (Herbs Commerce ed2)
  • Munro, D. B. Canadian poisonous plants information system (on-line resource). (Can Poison Pl)
  • Nasir, E. & S. I. Ali, eds. Flora of [West] Pakistan. (F Pak)
  • Personal Care Products Council International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI)
  • Porcher, M. H. et al. Searchable World Wide Web Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database (MMPND) (on-line resource). (Pl Names)
  • Sanjappa, M. Legumes of India. 1992 (Leg India)
  • Smith, R. J. Botanical beads of the world (on-line resource). (Bot Beads World)
  • Soukup, J. Vocabulario de los nombres vulgares de la flora peruana. (Names Soukup)
  • Terrell, E. E. et al. Agric. Handb. no. 505. 1986 (AH 505)
  • Turrill, W. B. et al., eds. Flora of tropical East Africa. (F TE Afr)
  • Verdcourt, B. 1970. Studies in the Leguminosae-Papilionoideae for the 'Flora of Tropical East Africa': II Kew Bull. 24:240.
  • Westphal, E. & P. C. M. Jansen, eds. 1989. A selection (Pl Res SEAs) A:27.


Check other web resources for Abrus precatorius L. :

  • AVH: Australia's Virtual Herbarium
  • SIBIS: South African National Biodiversity Institute's (SANBI) Integrated Biodiversity System
  • TROPICOS: Nomenclatural and Specimen Database of the Missouri Botanical Garden
  • ILDIS: International Legume Database & Information Service
  • Mansfeld: Mansfeld's World Databas of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops
  • ePIC: Electronic Plant Information Centre of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • AGRICOLA: Article Citation Database or NAL Catalog of USDA's National Agricultural Library
  • Entrez: NCBI's search engine for PubMed citations, GenBank sequences, etc.


  • Fruit: U.S. National Seed Herbarium image
  • Seed: U.S. National Seed Herbarium image
  • Seeds: U.S. National Seed Herbarium image