This is a high-climbing woody vine species native to rain forests of Central and South America. The vine produces pods which contain several beans that are extremely buoyant and well adapted for ocean dispersal. Known to beachcombers around the world and commonly called "sea beans", they drift on the world's oceans and often wash ashore on the beaches of distant continents and tropical islands. This one is the most common species of sea bean that washes ashore on beaches of the southeastern United States. It is easy to grow from seeds and is easily cared in the garden or landscape just needs sunlight and space. The long, rope-like stalk hangs below the forest canopy where night-flying bats can easily access the fragrant blossoms. The name Brown Hamburger Bean is because of the beautiful seeds (looking like little hamburgers) that are often collected and polished by natives and made into lovely necklaces, bracelets and other handicraft items.
The seeds are poisonous and contain L-DOPA and other potentially toxic substances.