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Decaisnea insignis (= D. fargesii)
Dead Man's Fingers, Blue Bean Tree
A large deciduous shrub or small tree with a thick trunk, few branches, pinnate leaves and panicles of greenish-yellow flowers, followed by very decorative, soft, yellowish to blue pods that contain a number of shiny brown seeds and a transparent, jelly-like pulp that is edible but rather bland. The vernacular name Dead Man's Fingers is fairly self explanatory after seeing a picture of the mature seed pods. Decaisnea insignis is the only tree in the easily pronounceable and rather obscure family Lardizabalaceae, which otherwise consists only of woody vines. Native to mixed forests and scrub usually on steep slopes between 900 and 3600 m from the Himalayas eastward to southwestern China, it is highly adaptable and easily grown from tropical to temperate climates.