Saturday, September 24, 2016

Miracle berries

You can see a flower bud to the left of the red berry

A few years ago a south Florida gardener brought a few handfuls of red berries to a garden forum get-together, telling us to eat one and then bite into a lemon wedge. The lemon was not sour but tasted sweet like lemonade. So, of course, the Miracle fruit was all the rage in the local (Florida) gardening forum and we all scrambled to get our hands on this, back then, rare plant.

Little red berries on Miracle fruit plant

At a nursery, I found one last tiny plant which came with a hefty price tag , but I was promised, it will bear fruit within a couple of years. A few couple of years later..... The plant did grow, but so very slow, I got bored watching and pampering it. I stuck the pot in a flower bed and forgot about this expensive twig with three leaves plant.
Seems to work best for me, forgetting about plants, since this little Miracle fruit plant is now a handsome little shrub with shiny green leaves and bright red miracle berries.

Synsepalum dulcificum (Miracle fruit, Miracle berry, Sweet berry) is native to tropical West Africa and therefore frost sensitive. It needs acidic soil and high humidity and prefers partial shade.

Small berry with a rather large seed inside

The Miracle fruit  sure is a  great conversation starter.

The small, red berries are not sweet, rather tasteless. Eat one slowly, coating the tastebuds with the berry flesh, then try something sour such as a piece of citrus fruit or a Lemondrop martini. You will have the delicious citrus taste but not the sourness. The effect of this one berry lasts about 20 to 30 minutes, but some say it lasts up to an hour.

Try a berry before eating not only lemons and lime, but also oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, sour apples, rhubarb, even dry wine and anything else benefiting from more sweetness.


  1. I have never heard of this berry! Very interesting. If it were frost hardy, I would want one.

    1. I read mixed reports, some say this plant is absolutely not cold hardy, while others say older plants can tolerate a cold snap. I won't take a chance but bring it into the garage with the orchids, that's at around 45 F.

  2. freue mich schon die Beere bei dir zu kosten
    es ist schon großartig was in deinem Garten so alles wächst

  3. Very cool! That would be so much fun to try! I like the idea of eating it before having a sour drink :)

    1. I plan on handing out some berries to friends tomorrow with the usual citrus slices etc. should be fun :-)