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Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii - (Stapf) Diels

Common Name Serendipity Berry, Guinea potato
Family Menispermaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dense rain-forest and galleried forest, often in old cultivation sites[ 332 ].
Range Western, central and northeastern tropical Africa.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii Serendipity Berry, Guinea potato

Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii Serendipity Berry, Guinea potato


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Serendipity Berry or Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii is a perennial climbing plant about 1.8 m long with more or less woody stems that are usually 2cm in diameter and twines into other plants for support. It is native to tropical Africa. It is harvested from the wild for its edible fruit and root. The small, sub-ovoid fruit is a drupe that can be consumed raw ? it has mucilaginous pulp that is considered to be the sweetest known naturally occurring substance. The root, on the other hand, is small and yam-like and can be eaten like potatoes. Further, it is considered a sexual stimulant and used to cure wounds. The stem can be used on swollen limbs and as a wash against venereal diseases.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii is an evergreen Climber growing to 1.8 m (6ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Rhopalandria cumminsii Stapf, Rhopalandria lobata C.H.Wright, Dioscoreophyllum jollyanum Pierre ex D


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Root
Edible Uses: Sweetener

Fruit - raw. The intensely sweet, mucilaginous pulp of the fruit is considered to be the sweetest known naturally occurring substance - it is up to 3,000 times sweeter than sucrose[ 301 ]. It has been recommended as a non-carbohydrate sugar substitute[ 301 ]. The fruit can keep for several weeks at room temperature[ 301 ]. Roots. Small and yam-like[ 301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The fruit contains monellin, an intensely sweet protein with potential use as a sugar replacement for diabetics. For humans, monellin is 100,000 times sweeter than sucrose on a molar basis and around 3,000 times on a weight basis.

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Other Uses: None known:

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A tropical dioecious rainforest vine with tuberous underground stems. The fruit can be stored. It will keep for several weeks at room temperature.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



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Plants can be grown from seed or tubers. Seeds need to germinate in the dark. Plants can be grown from stem cuttings.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Ito-igbin, Minbagem Ngbi,

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Angola, Asia, Cameroon, Central Africa, Congo DR, Congo R, East Africa, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Southern Africa, Sudan, Togo, West Africa, Zimbabwe,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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(Stapf) Diels

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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