Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the December 17, 2017 Newsletter issued from Rancho Regensis north of Valladolid, Yucatán, MÉXICO
NISSOLIA VINE FRUITING

On the main highway about 5kms north of Vallodolid, from the bicycle I spotted large clusters of fruits more or less clumped atop roadside trees. Vines often produce such clumps, where they've twined to a tree's outermost limbs to produce their flowers and fruits. Here in the early dry season, these fruits were turning brown, so they were conspicuous against the deep greenness of the forest, plus they displayed very curious, almost awkward-looking forms. Below, you can see how thickly packed they were:

Nissolia fruticosa var. fruticosa, legumes

A fruit close-up is seen below:

Nissolia fruticosa var. fruticosa, legumes close-up

They look like green beans flattened on their lower ends, or winged ash-tree samaras. I felt pretty sure that they were legume-type fruits of the Bean Family, though, especially since the leaves were pinnately divided like many Bean Family members, as seen below:

Nissolia fruticosa var. fruticosa, leaves

Assuming the Bean Family, it was easy to browse the list of Bean Family members documented for the Yucatan, to find that this is NISSOLIA FRUTICOSA var. FRUTICOSA, a woody vine, or liana, generally occurring in a variety of habitats in the New World tropics. The species has no commonly accepted English name.

The Maya traditionally use this woody liana to tie up loads of firewood. I find it listed as medicinal, though the use isn't given.

It's a pleasure finding a plant producing such curious looking fruits.