Have you ever seen a ‘jumping bean’?

As spring comes to an end, many trees, like the Tambotie tree (Spirostachys Africana), begin to fruit.  It brings a sense of freshness to the air that tells us that the long-awaited summer has arrived.

When looking at a Tambotie tree’s fruit looks like a three-lobed capsule and once it ripens, it bursts opens, splits into three cocci and falls from the tree. The fruit is usually a popular delicatessen for guinea fowl, francolin and doves but the fruit is also frequently parasitized by a small grey moth whose larvae develop within the growing fruits. This larva causes the beans to jump around all over the ground.

Ross, our instructor at Karongwe camp, explains this fascinating occurrence in more detail.

Now that you know all about jumping beans, the next time you walk past seeds you will hopefully recognise them and impress your fellow safari-goers with your knowledge of this special occurrence.

About the Author:
Annemi Zaaiman

Annemi Zaaiman

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