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Canavalia rosea (Family Fabacaea, Subfamily Papilionoidea) is a pantropical and subtropical plant found along the beach just above high tide in the berm (Gross 1993). This Pantropical and Subtropical plant ranges from sea level to 200 M. and is not very salt tolerant. It is a creeping plant with long stems that may extend anywhere between seven and ten meters (Kitajima et al 2008). Leaf characteristics of this plant include three compound rounded leaflets about 7 cm. in diameter (Kitajima et al 2008). The leaves are thick and shiny, are shaped oval to oblong, and they contain a blunt tip and base. During the most intense heat of the day, these leaves will fold in on themselves. The flowers are inflorescences of sparse clusters that bloom most of the year. The inflorescences are asymmetrical flowers about two inches long of light purple with a white center (Garguillo 2008). These inflorescences are normally pollinated by bees, and in Japan are pollinated by female leaf cutter bees (Matsumara 2004). The fruit of C. rosea is a dry, flat, bean pod about 15 cm long and 2 cm wide. The bean pod will contain 6 dry buoyant seeds that are dispersed by water (VatanParast 2011).
C. rosea roots help to hold sand and keep dunes from eroding too much (Seena et al 2005). This plant is a hardy plant and if a fragment of the plant breaks off and if that fragment contains a node, the fragment has roots and is able to start to grow a new plant (Chen et al 2000). The stems are rather woody and branch out from the base covering large areas of beach.
Each part of the plant is often used by natives for homemade uses. Tough toxic, young seeds can be eaten after soaking, and are often done by fishermen and coastal dwellers. If roots are infused, they can be used to treat aches, pains, and rheumatism. The leaves help to relieve pain and with burns. When seeds are crushed they can be used as a substitute for coffee. Fresh dried flowers of C. rosea can be used in cooking as garnish or as flavoring (Britto et al 2010). Often times this plant is found alongside the Ipomoea pes-caprae (Convululaceae) the beach morning glory (Gargiullo et al 2008).