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Donkey Eye

Donkey Eye

Scientific name: Mucuna sloanei

The brown seed known as ‘Donkey eye’ begins life in inland forests borne on a climbing vine with bright yellow flowers, which overgrows other vegetation. The plant produces seed pods about 18 cm (7 in.) long. If the overgrown tree is along a stream bank, the floating seeds may find their way into rivers and get deposited along the coast by the waves and currents.15 Finding Donkey Eye seeds on the beaches of the east and south coast of Trinidad is a regular occurrence and generations of children have used them to prank others as the seeds emit heat when rubbed on a firm surface.

Of more concern to people, however, are the seed pods which are covered with fine, velvety hairs that can cause itching and irritation. During the dry season high winds may cause the hairs to dislodge from the pods and disperse with the wind.

donkey eye along seashore, Trinidad

Donkey eye seeds cast ashore

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