I finally got to encounter some non-cultivated velvet beans in the wild – and they are definitely unpleasant. It’s one thing to hear – it’s another to experience.
And you know me, I like to experience all kinds of unpleasant things.
Now I really feel sorry for Keith’s wife and her brush with murderous Mucuna!
Here’s my hunt from the other day:
“Down the road by the burned car”
I set off on my hike to hunt for wild velvet beans with the idea of asking a neighbor if he knew where any might be growing. It didn’t take long, as I came across a local farmer a minute after leaving my driveway. He asked where we were walking.
I told him we were hunting for the wild stinging beans and his eyes widened. “Why???”
I said they were good medicine and he told me, skeptical, that they were down the road by the burned car. And he also warned me to be careful… and handed us a few ripe sapodilla for the road. My neighbors are great.
I found the beans without trouble, and I thought I was careful handling them. I had gloves and jeans on, plus a plastic bag for the beans.
I wasn’t careful enough.
The itching creeps up on you. It’s a bit of a tickle, then a sting, then an insistent stinging itch that will drive you mad.
Though I didn’t touch any of the beans, the fine hairs drift off the pods when they are disturbed… and where those hairs will land, no one knows.
Granted, I didn’t get it too badly. My arms were driving me crazy for a while and got worse when I washed them. I carefully peeled out of my outer clothes and scrubbed my arms with soap and water. Eventually the itching subsided.
The beans we found in the wild were smaller and uglier than the ones Keith grew, and they definitely weren’t as large as the stingless types. They almost looked a bit mangy.
Originally I planned on planting these somewhere and using them like I used the stingless velvet beans I used to grow back in Florida.
Now? No. Too unpleasant a plant for the homestead, as much as saying that makes me feel like a loser.
If I ever get an “itch” to plant them, I’ll go back and watch this video again.