Ormosia minor - Jardim Botânico de São Paulo - IMG 0302.jpg
Seeds of Ormosia minor
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Ormosieae
Genus: Ormosia
Jacks. nom. cons.

129–154; see text

  • Anatropostylia (Plitmann) Kupicha
  • Arillaria Kurz.
  • Fedorouia (lapsus)
  • Fedorovia Yakovlev
  • Layia Hook. & Arn. (non Hook. & Arn. ex DC.: nom. rej.)
  • Macrotropis DC.
  • Macroule Pierce
  • Ormosiopsis Ducke
  • Placolobium Miq.
  • Podopetalum F.Muell.
  • Ruddia Yakovlev
  • Toulichiba Adans. nom. rej.
  • Trichocyamos Yakovlev

Ormosia is a genus of legumes (family Fabaceae). The more than 100 living species, mostly trees or large shrubs, are distributed throughout the tropical regions of the world, some extending into temperate zones, especially in East Asia. A few species are threatened by habitat destruction, while the Hainan ormosia (Ormosia howii) is probably extinct already.

Plants in this genus are commonly known as horse-eye beans or simply ormosias, and in Spanish by the somewhat ambiguous term "chocho". The scientific name Ormosia is a nomen conservandum, overruling Toulichiba which is formally rejected under the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants.[1]

The seeds of these plants are poisonous if eaten, but often look pretty, with bright colors and decorative patterns reminiscent of an eye; the common name "horse-eye beans" refers to these seeds. They resemble the seeds of Abrus, snoutbeans (Rhynchosia), and Adenanthera, but are much larger than the former two. In particular those of Ormosia coccinea are often used for jewelry and other decorative purposes, or as good luck charms.[citation needed] The seeds float and are occasionally found as "sea beans".

Otherwise, Ormosia wood is used as timber or firewood. Some species, for example Ormosia nobilis, are also used in folk medicine.[2]

Fossil record

8 dehiscent seed pod fossils of one Ormosia species from the middle Eocene epoch have been examined from Warman clay pit in Weakley County, while 52 fossil leaflets of two Ormosia species have been described from Warman, New Lawrence and Lamkin clay pits in Weakley and Henry Counties, Tennessee, United States.[3]


Ormosia comprises the following species:[4][5][6]

Species names with uncertain taxonomic status

The status of the following species is unresolved:[6][verification needed]


  1. ^ a b USDA; ARS; National Genetic Resources Program (5 Oct 2007). "GRIN record for genus Ormosia". Germplasm Resources Information Network—(GRIN) [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Archived from the original on 15 January 2009. Retrieved 24 Dec 2008.
  2. ^ Marín-Corba C, Cárdenas-López D, Suárez-Suárez S (2005). "Utilidad del valor de uso en etnobotánica. Estudio en el departamento de Putumayo (Colombia)" [Use Value usefulness in ethnobotany. Case study in Putumayo department (Colombia)] (PDF). Caldasia. 27 (1): 89–101.
  3. ^ The Fossil History of Leguminosae from the Eocene of Southeastern North America by Patrick S. Herendeen, Advances in Legume Systematics: Part 4, The Fossil Record, Ed. P.S. Herendeen & Dilcher, 1992, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, ISBN 0 947643 40 0
  4. ^ "ILDIS LegumeWeb entry for Ormosia". International Legume Database & Information Service. Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  5. ^ USDA; ARS; National Genetic Resources Program. "GRIN species records of Ormosia". Germplasm Resources Information Network—(GRIN) [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  6. ^ a b "The Plant List entry for Ormosia". The Plant List. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Missouri Botanical Garden. 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  7. ^ Meireles JE, de Lima HC (2013). "A new species of Ormosia (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae, Sophoreae) from the Brazilian Atlantic Rain Forest". Phytotaxa. 143 (1): 54–60. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.143.1.3.
  8. ^ a b Cardoso DBOS; Stirton CH; Torke BM (2014). "Taxonomy of South American Ormosia (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae): Recircumscription of O. costulata, reinstatement of O. trifoliolata, and the new species O. lewisii from the Brazilian Atlantic forest". Systematic Botany. 39 (4): 1132–1141. doi:10.1600/036364414X683903. S2CID 85732454.
  9. ^ Cardoso DBOS; de Queiroz LP (2010). "Ormosia limae (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae): A New Species from the Atlantic Forest of Southern Bahia, Brazil". Systematic Botany. 35 (2): 272–276. doi:10.1600/036364410791638441.
  10. ^ Aymard GA, Sanoja E (2012). "A New Species of Ormosia (Leguminosae: Papilionoideae, Sophoreae) from the Guayana Shield, Bolivar State, Venezuela". Harvard Papers in Botany. 17 (2): 275–279. doi:10.3100/025.017.0206. S2CID 84187878.
  11. ^ Cardoso DBOS; Meireles JE; de Lima HC (2009). "A remarkable new species of Ormosia (Leguminosae: Papilionoideae: Sophoreae) from Bahian Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil". Brittonia. 61 (1): 22–27. doi:10.1007/s12228-008-9051-y. S2CID 38734607.
  12. ^ a b c These three are accepted species, but have yet to be formally transferred to Ormosia.

Media related to Ormosia (Fabaceae) at Wikimedia Commons