Trapa bicornis (Devil's pod)

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by AIN SOF, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. AIN SOF

    AIN SOF Member

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    Well first off this is my first post so hello :) (also if this isn't in the right place feel free to move it to where it should be)

    Now down to my quest.
    Not long ago a friend gave me these two seed pods.
    I later found out that they were 'trapa bicornis' or commonly known as Devil Pod or Bat Nut because of their shape.
    They are an aquatic asian plant.
    Now my question is how easy/hard or even if possible at all would they be to grow?
    And if possible how exactly would be the best way to go about it?

    Attached Files:

  2. Chris Klapwijk

    Chris Klapwijk Active Member 10 Years

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    Black Ceek, B.C., Canada
    Interesting looking seeds!

    From the New RHS Dictionary of Gardening:

    The raw nuts, rich in carbohydrate and fat, contain toxins which must be destroyed by boiling to render them safe to eat; they are eaten whole or ground for flour. The horn nut, T.bicornis, is known to have been used for food in Neolithic Britain, although its centre of origin is China; the genus naturalized in Australia and North America.

    Trapa spp., are found in still and slow-moving water systems in warm temperate regions, often as a weed, as in the Caspian, where it threatens sturgeon-feeding grounds, and in India and Sri Lanka, where it invades irrigation tanks, causing nuisance by producing large quantities of decaying vegetation. They are sometimes cultivated as floating plants in aquaria, or in ponds. T. natans is the most frost-hardy species, naturalized in some parts of the United States. Give full sun, slightly acidic water and a rich, heavy planting medium. Seeds loose viability if allowed to dry and should be stored in water or wet moss.
  3. AIN SOF

    AIN SOF Member

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    Thank you for the quick responce.

    Sadly though from the sound of it i don't think the seeds will be viable, since i think they spent quite a bit of time dry.

    Although i will keep them as ornaments.
  4. What's all this about Trapa bicornis seeds being toxic?

    I keep reading about the ``devil's pod'' being toxic if uncooked. Supposedly
    some deadly compounds need detoxification by heat... Can anyone point to
    *any* scientific evidence suggesting any toxic compound from Trapa bicornis
    seed pods?!? Killer tannins and sugars? Yet you can read about it all over
    the place, but never with any scientific citation. Perhaps the seed pods
    bring the devil at night...

    Some very scary (not!) polyamines { cadaverine, spermine, spermidine, etc }
    have been reported from a variety T. natans, but not from the seed, and in
    small quantities. But these are also components of human sperm.

    The diagram of the structure of cadaverine sort of looks like a bat and
    the seed pod of T. bicornis! Which is kind of neato, but my guess is that
    like other aquatic plants, they can be vectors for trematodes --
    intestinal flukes.

    MD. HAFEEZ [Journal of Parasitic Diseases, Vol. 27 (2), pp. 69-75] writes
    in general about edible water plants:

    "The infection is common due to peeling of the parasitised plants with
    the teeth. After encysting in the duodenum the young flukes become
    attacked to the nearby intestinal wall and develop into adult worms
    in about three months. (Parija 1990)"

    A Korean produce worker and I each ate the uncooked seed, but we cracked
    them open with our hands. My wife ate two, and she's still fine. Some joker
    is selling pods for $1.99 each -- but around here they're 99 cents per pound.
    I would like to sprout one and finally figured out which way is up.
  5. Got Mine to Grow!

    My husband came home with about a pound of these seeds from a little shop in Chinatown NYC, where you can get anything and everything. We looked them up and after finding out they were an aquatic plant, we dropped a bunch in each of our three fish tanks. TA DA! After about 2 weeks or soaking, they all sprouted fernlike roots. Then a few days later, a single stalk sprouted from the center of the horns. It grew at an amazing rate, about 3 inches or more a day. Small geranium-like leaves formed as as the stalk reached the surface of the tank, the leaves spread and formed a floating ring or leaves like a water lily would. The stem of each leaf has a small bulb-like bladder that I presume helps it to float. Pictures available upon request - send to Thanks!
  6. TitTournesol

    TitTournesol Member

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    Re: What's all this about Trapa bicornis seeds being toxic?

    Hello !

    I hope you are still coming on this site (as the message I am answering to was sent something like two years ago).

    I am actually looking for Trapa Bicornis - nuts. I need at least 30 or 50 of them, and for the moment, the only place in France I found them doesn't have them anymore, they got these "bull nuts" only two times in four years... I found a website selling them 2$/piece... I thought, when seeing your message, you might help me to find them a bit cheaper. Maybe you could even buy them for me and send them ? I pay you the nuts and the transport without any problem.

    I don't know if you will get this message and if you can help me, but thank you anyway !

    Best regards,

  7. newtoplants

    newtoplants Member

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    Illinois, USA
    I am surprise to see them here, I didn't know that they are pods that can grow into a plant. We eat it around Chinese New Year, Jan or Feb, I can't remember if it's a New Year snack. We just boil it, have no idea it's toxic when eaten raw, that's good to know. If you have a Chinatown or Chinese grocery store nearby, show them the picture and ask when they will carry them, it should be a lot cheaper than $2/piece. Good luck.
  8. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    Coquitlam, BC
    It is currently showing up in the Asian furit and veg markets now. I think it's supply coincides with the Northern Hemisphere fall harvest festival ("moon cake festival").

    By the way - this thread has got to be a record of some kind - only 6 replies, but 2 years and 8 months old and almost 1500 views!
  9. tgretchen

    tgretchen Member

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    Seguin, TX
    My friend found this forum for me b/c I just received a few from some Vietnamese people I met. They own a restaurant here in San Antonio but they bought these things around Tet, new year, time in Houston. I remember eating them when we were younger. I'm going to try and grow the pods I have to see if they will sprout as discussed above.

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