Monographs Details: Canavalia maritima (Aubl.) Thouars
Authority: Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.
Description:Species Description - Common on maritime sands and rocks, this vine grows nearly throughout the tropics of both hemispheres, its seeds distributed by ocean tides and currents; in America it ranges north to southern Florida and to Bermuda; it sometimes covers areas of considerable size, and its clustered, pink flowers are attractive.
Canavali is a genus of perennial, herbaceous vines , founded by the French botanist Adanson, in his "Families des Plantes", in 1763, using the aboriginal appellation of one of the species in the South Sea Islands; some subsequent authors have altered the original spelling to Canavalia. About 15 species are known; all have 3-foliolate leaves, large flowers borne in racemes, with a 2-lipped calyx, curved or twisted wing-petals, and a smooth and incurved style; the pods are large, flattened, and contain few or several, large seeds, white, red or brown in the different species. Besides the sea-coast species here illustrated we have in Porto Rico (1) Canavali rusiosperma. Mato colorado, native in the western mountain forests, and also in St. Thomas and in Santo Domingo, with red flowers and crimson seeds, and (2) Canavali ensiformis, Sword Bean, or Horse Bean, native of the East Indies, cultivated for its edible white seeds, amd occasionally runs wild.
The Bay Bean is usually trailing or prostrate, but occasionally climbs on shrubs and may reach a length of about 6 meters. Its leaves are stalked, and the 3, broad, thick, blunt, or short-pointed, finely hairy leaflets are from 4 to 10 centimeters long, with few, rather inconspicuous veins. The long-stalked flower-clusters often exceed the leaves, and the axis of the cluster is roughened by very short projections on which the flowers are borne; the helmet-shaped, lipped calyx is from 12 to 17 millimeters long, and constricted at the base; the petals are 2 to 2.5 centimeters long; the 10 stamens are united by their filaments, but one of them usually not wholly united. The pod is 10 to 12 centimeters long, about 2 centimeters wide, the oblong seeds brown.
Our illustration was first published in Addisonia, plate 407, in 1927. The painting was made from a plant on the beach at Santurce, with leaflets not as wide and rounded as they commonly are.
Mato de la playa
Dolichos maritima Aublet, Histoire des plantes de la Guiane française 2: 765. 1775.
Canavali (a) maritima Thouars, Journal de Botanique [Desveau] 1: 80. 1813.