Message of the Day – A Bean

Not the shiny one in Chicago.

Haven’t got a photo of it yet.

This one is from Springfield’s Washington Park right north of South Grand.

The kids first noticed it when one stepped on its seed pod.

It was squishy.

My adventurous son brought it over to the picnic shelter and started dissecting it.

It was messy.

When I saw the bean that came out of the seed pod, I recognized it from my childhood in Easton, Maryland.

I couldn’t remember what tree it came from.

I’m still not sure.

“Horse chestnut” came to mind after a while, but when I Google the term, the seed does not look like it comes in a bean pod.

So, I looked up images of “bean pod, tree” and think I found the answer.

It’s a castor bean.

When you rub them on the sidewalk, they retain heat from the friction.

Then, you can torture a classmate by touching them with the hot bean.

Great fun.

At least, the kids doing the touching thought so.


Message of the Day – A Bean — 1 Comment

  1. I remember this trick from 5th grade in 1964… kids would rub the castor bean on the floor, then apply the bean’s little white dimple to a “friend’s” arm. White hot! I remember the beans being red, though… Little did we realize then that castor beans contained the deadly poison ricin… and just handling the beans (and dissecting them, as I wanted to know what caused their blistering heat) was probably dangerous as heck. Thanks for posting this story… I’ve searched long and hard for a reference to this, and was beginning to think I had just imagined it!

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