A widely cultivated shrub that is native to tropical West Africa. Reaching heights of 6 to 10 feet, miracle berry is a handsome plant. The evergreen leaves are nicely contrasted with the reddish/purple ovoid berries. The white flowers are sweetly scented but not overpowering. It can bear fruit several times a year.
Suitable for container gardening, miracle berries compact form makes it a perfect plant for the lanai. It thrives with acidic soil and light shade. Propagation is by cuttings or seed germination. The shrub will fruit 4 to 5 years after propagation. Fleshy fruits contain a solitary seed.
The real curiosity of this plant comes with its ability to mask both sour and acidic flavors. The fruit contains glycoprotein molecules. When eaten they coat the tongue, changing flavors that would normally make ones mouth pucker to flavors that are both creamy and delicious. This phenomenon lasts for a few hours after eating.
From Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics: An Inventory. Agriculture Handbook No. 642
‘Attempts to exploit the striking effect on perception of sour flavors in development of artificial sweeteners have not been successful but are continuing.’
- Container plant
- No dangers