Jobs Tears - Knowledgebase Question

Buffalo, NY
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Question by CarolTom
January 11, 1998
I have, for some time, been looking for a source to obtain a type of seed called Job's Tears. They are a VERY OLD type of plant, whose seed grows along the main stem. They are related to Corn and Grass and because the main stem grows right through the center of each seed, when they are harvested they have a naturally occurring little hole in them which is perfect for stringing them like beads. The colors seem to range from blue, to purple, to pink and several shades of gray. I have even had a fewgreen ones, however, the only seeds that I have at this time are already made into jewelry.

Because these are old bits of jewelry, the seeds will not grow. I am sure that this would be considered an Heirloom plant, as I know that it has been usedfor centuries for making jewelery, especially rosaries.

Can you help me find some of these seeds?

Answer from NGA
January 11, 1998
This ornamental grass is grown for the gray to
black "seeds" that form on the flower stalks. These bead-like seeds may be used to make jewelry when they are fully mature. The largest plants will result when the plant is given partial shade although it will tolerate full sun. Job's Tears will adapt to wet soils so may be used near water.

Job's Tears--botanical name Coix lacryma-jobi
Height: 36 in Spacing: 12 in
Type: annual grass
Fruit: Gray
Propagation: Propagation is by seed. Soak the seed for 24
hours before planting.

To purchase the seeds, try the following mail-order companies:

Seeds of Change, ph# 888-762-7333, web site:
Stokes Seeds, ph# 716-695-6980, web site:
Nichols Garden Nursery, ph# 541-928-9280, web site:

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