I have a long shot ID question for a Korean seed expert.

I traveled to South Korea where I mimed with a woman who was collecting seeds along the side of the road. I gathered that they are consumed, but I am not sure to what capacity.

Here's what I know:

  • Seeds are approximately 1-2mm in size and derive from seedpods approximately 2cm long.
  • Seed pods (flowers) are on a stalk, approximately 1-2 m high.
  • Stalk consists of many multiples of seed pods (~20).
  • Seed pods (flowers) orient 180˚ on the stalk. Cannot remember if seed pods alternate or oppose one another.
  • Seed pods (flowers) spaced by 2-3cm up stalk.
  • Seeds are edible/medicinal after some unknown amount of processing.
  • Foliage low lying, 10-40 cm high.
  • Season of Seed: ~October
  • Location: Eurwang-Dong, Yongjongdo (Island), Incheon, South Korea

While in Korea I was told it was called Cassia. However, this does not appear to be a correct translation. Unfortunately, because I did not know I had been mislead until I'd left the area, I did not take a picture of the plant. :/ Any help is much appreciated.

Unidentified Seed from Korea

  • Maybe it could be a daylily?
    – Happia
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 2:06
  • 1
    This is an excellently written question. It's a perfect example of what's needed for an identification, or any other, purpose! Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 16:18
  • Gardener's hands...
    – stormy
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 20:03

2 Answers 2


After some thought, I'd like to suggest that these are Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) seeds.

It is most certainly not a Cassia as Cassia belongs to a Family of plants that have pea-like pods.

Here is a site that outlines their culinary/cosmetic usage in Korea.

And here are some images of the seed pods as they appear on the plant.

And some in the hand:

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 2
    Looks spot on! I expected to need to germinate a few seeds before I'd be able to find my answer. Thanks for the solid lead.
    – J.P.M.
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 17:22
  • The seeds need light to germinate so don't cover them. Good luck!
    – Brenn
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 17:23
  • Is this your palm, Brenn? Looks like gardener's hands to me! Grins. Good job on this ID...and others...
    – stormy
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 19:53
  • Nope, not me! Found them on the net.
    – Brenn
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 19:56

It might well have been one of the Cassias - Cassia mimosiodes is used for tea, and the seeds are used as a folk or herbal treatment for various ailments, including inflammation, stomach troubles, asthma, typhoid and a host of other things. The other possibility is Senna obtusifolia - a product derived from processing the seeds is known as cassia, and the plant itself is sometimes referred to as Cassia humilis. The seeds from this are used roasted and ground as a coffee substitute, and in traditional Korean medicine, may be prepared as a tea. More info here on this plant https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senna_obtusifolia and Cassia mimosiodes here http://www.naturalsolution.co.kr/natural/product/prodcut_view.php?page=0&set_page=3&cate_id=22&p_id=311

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