Job’s tears is a tall ornamental perennial grass and is usually cultivated as an annual that resembles corn. It grows 3-8 tall and features jointed stems with long flat leaf blades. Male and female flowers are borne on the same plant and bloom in the late summer. It is considered one of the earliest domesticated plants. Linnaeus gave the botanical name in 1753, relying upon an existing popular reference for the tear shaped pods to the Book of Job and it has also been called St. Mary’s tears.
The seeds are popular for making decorations and have herbal and medicinal uses. It is said to have cancer fighting properties. This plant’s seeds are used in soups and broths, and can be used in any way that rice is used. They can also be ground into flour which is used to make bread.
The plants grow a pre-drilled, polished bead that can be used to make an endless assortment of necklaces, bracelets, and other baubles. The male flower grows up through the center of the bead. When removed, it leaves a hollow core just right for stringing. One popular application is making rosaries and jewelry as the beads are especially resistant to damage by moisture. The beads are often called Blessing Beads and Power beads.