The pearly gray seeds of this grass species are used in necklaces. The foliage is like floppy corn, mid-green in color. Flowers arrive early on, although they are easy to miss, being mostly green – the yellow tassels can only be seen when you get up close. Seeds start developing shortly thereafter (by early summer most years, for plants started indoors in March), and continue on through fall. They progress from a lustrous green to black, and finally a shiny gray color. Seeds can be harvested when they are uniformly black – they will acquire their pearly sheen in storage. Seeds that turn white or a duller gray are likely not viable (if you're not sure, do a float test: viable seeds will sink, duds will float). I've never managed to grow Job's tears as impressive as others do, but most years I got a good crop of seeds. If you're interested in getting your hands on a few, see my Job's tears seeds for sale page.
||ordinary garden soil, not too dry
||Soak, germinate at room temperature or slightly warmer. Scarification may be helpful.
Flowers first year from seed sown indoors early.
detailed seed-starting info below
|Seed ripens||late September|
|Close-up of the procreation apparatus |
|Red bits and yellow bits (I'm quite the botanist, don't you think?) |
|The pearly beads look great en masse |
|Just starting to burst into growth with the arrival of late-spring warm weather |
In our garden, this plant grows in the following area: vegetable garden
Seed for this plant is included on my seed trade list
About my plant portraits
PlantLinks to other web pages about Coix lacryma-jobi
Visitors to this page have left the following comments
|Anna Maria Ballarin||Apr 05, 2005||Thought this plant is also known as Jacob's Tears in some parts of the world.|
|Kaye Bordelon||Oct 18, 2006||I have a friend who has been wanting to buy seeds or the plant to make rosaries could you let me know if I can purchase. thank you kaye|
For direct questions to me, of no interest to fellow gardeners, please mail me directly (link at the bottom of each page). Thanks!
|jim burns||Jun 17, 2008||first met jobs tears as necklaces in PNG highlands. Read there are cultivars in Sth America. Now find grown as a food plant in Laos. My Qs: where the hell did the plant originate? When did it spread to other parts of the world? How did it get there? If anyone has evidence & source of it I'd be obliged if you'd email me: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Rev. Mary||Aug 15, 2008|| I especially appreciate the helpful info you have given on Job's Tears. I have long searched for the name of the plant that produced "natural beads" that Native Americans made necklaces with. Fifteen years ago I bought a necklace made of Job's Tears and have wondered about these little creations ever since. Now I feel so very blessed with all the information I have at last been able to gather about them. You list them as a perennial, and I find them listed elsewhere as an annual. Well, with your seed starting tips to help, I hope to find out come next year about this. I am excited to be able to at last try this venture and hope there will be a place in my garden where they will feel "at
home" and thrive. I would like to try making some jewelry of my own, and even perhaps try to cook some as a cereal as I have also read can be done. THANK YOU for the fine photos that show me what to be looking for in my garden !! |
I list it as a tender perennial - which means it is perennial in tropical climates, but cannot be grown as a perennial where I garden. So we treat it as an annual.
|Al||Aug 16, 2009||Hi, I grow Coix lacryma-jobi. I use the grey seeds and soak them in hydrogen peroxide in a half day sun window seal until they start to germinate, usually 2 days, I have a 95% germination rate. I take out the seeds as they start to germinate and put into potting soil. My plants are loaded. I did learn that if you mix fertilizer in the soil when you plant them they do not do well, it stunts and burns them. Water with miracle grow and put a little fertilizer on top of the soil for best results. email@example.com|
|alfiana Anna||Sep 03, 2009||I'm so interested with this plant. i come from indonesia. we call this plant JAGUNG JALI, especially in Javanese. i also interested to make my last paper about JAGUNG JALI in my university. so, do you have more information about JAGUNG JALI research? where or how i can get it's information? thanks and please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
|mike||Feb 09, 2011||i have made four neckles from the tears they are supose to be good luck|
|Sarah in Az||Apr 05, 2011||Hey there this site is great! I was wondering though, in the seed starting section, what does "baggy" mean? Seems to be better germination rate for that. I have had like 50% no matter what I tried with job's tears. Last yr we tried to grow some of the food grade (softer shell) kind, had a friend in Japan send them, planted them right out in the garden and watered every day and germination was more like 75%, but they barely made a handful of seeds! Actually some that never came up last yr are starting to come up now. The package is all in Japanese though, so if it does have starting instructions I'll never know LOL. Hoping to grow and get enough seeds to have a real crop next yr. One plant of job's tears usually gives us about a quart of seeds, hoping these food grade (adlay) will do so good.|
See my baggy page for a full description of seed-starting in baggies. For Job's tears, it helps to nick the seeds using a file and give them warm conditions to germinate. Lightweight seeds will not germinate - they are empty.
|Rogelio Arce||Nov 18, 2011||I have about half acre of this plant, in the cattle farm, I dont know how it came to that place. They are good luck pearls.|
Wow, that must be quite a sight - especially right after those pearls drop.
|Kelly Hancock||Mar 27, 2012||Greeting from Austin,Tx. I love your site, found some very old Job's Tears seeds that came from my Grandmother's yard in Lafayette, La. with all of the helpful info on your site I am going to give it a shot and see if I can get them to germinate. http://www.louisianafolklife.org/LT/Articles_Essays/Job'sTearsRosaries.html|
Good luck! I've often wondered how long they stay viable, so I'm curious to learn how you fare.
|Donna Bauman||Oct 25, 2014||What causes a fungus or infection in Job's Tears. Can it be cured? How? Would the infection or fungus spread to other plants? Would this mean re-planting with new seeds Would the fungus or infection prevent the growing of Job's Tears entirely or would planting in a different location be all that is necessary.
Thanks you for any extra time or effort on my behalf,
I'm afraid I have no knowledge of fungal diseases in this plant – nor am I aware that such things are a problem with Job's tears.
- Seed from '99/'00 AHS exchange. Soak overnight, cellpack 70F (90%G, 13-15d)
- Seed from '03/'04 AHS exchange. Soak overnight, pot 70F (20%G, 15d)
- Seed from '04 garden. First attempt: soak overnight, pot 70F (no G). Second attempt: sandpapered a window into each seedcoat, baggy with peat moss 75F (37%G, 8d)
- Seed from '05 garden. Nicked, placed in baggy with potting soil at 75F (10%G)
- Seed from '07 garden. Determined that only the pearly-gray seeds are viable - black and white ones are not. Nicked individual seeds with a file, baggy 75F (89%G, 7-13d)
- Seed from '08 garden. File-nicked, then baggy 75F (78%G, 8-16d)
- Seed from '09 garden. File-nicked, then baggy 75F (70%G, 9-15d)
- Seed from '10 garden. File-nicked, baggy 75F (80%G, 6-10d)
- Same seed as above. File-nicked, baggy 75F (83%G, 6-9d)
- Seed from '12 garden. File-nicked, baggy 70F (6d) - 75F (90%G, 3-15d)
- Seed from '14 garden. File-nicked, baggy 75F (92%G, 7-12d)
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June 19, 2015