World Plants Logo

search the world

Tropicals, Woody > Synsepalum > Synsepalum dulcificum > Synsepalum dulcificum

Synsepalum dulcificum

Miracle Fruit Tree

Origin:  West Africa (Ghana).
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


Synsepalum dulcificum, also known as the Miracle Fruit Tree or 'Agbayun' by West Africans, is a medium sized tropical evergreen tree or shrub. Its common name comes from its bright red berries which turn any bitter or sour food sweet within minutes of consumption. It is quickly gaining popularity in the world outside of West Africa, mostly as a novelty plant for its unique effects on the taste buds. Its deep green foliage, small white flowers and scarlet berries make this a beautiful and unique plant to experience.

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tropicals, Woody
Tree (evergreen), Shrub (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
10b - 11
Canadian Hardiness Zone
Requires cool season protection under glass.
RHS Hardiness Zone
H2 - H1c
Temperature (°C)
2 - 10
Temperature (°F)
35 - 50
6 m
3-5 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
A tropical evergreen shrub or small tree, oval to pyramidal in shape with small white flowers, large glossy leaves and bright red berries.
In warmer North American climates it is often planted outside in growth restricting containers for use on porches or patios. It does very well as a tropical houseplant.
An acid loving plant, requiring a soil pH of 4.5-5.8 to thrive. Full direct sunlight is best however it is tolerant of partial shade or filtered light.
Pyramidal to oval shaped shrub or tree.
ID Characteristic
This oval shrub or small tree is easily identified by its shape, large deep green and glabrous foliage, as well as its bright red, football-shaped fruit.
Affected by very few pests, common house plants pests such as spider mites, aphids, whitefly and mealy bugs are the greatest concern for this plant.
Tropical wet lowlands. As a shrub, it is usually found in more shaded areas such as under the canopy of larger trees but it appreciates both filtered and full sunlight.
Bark/Stem Description
The bark is smooth textured and varies from a light grey to medium brown in colour.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
The bud is approximately 1-2 cm long with a brown base and creamy-white coloured flower petals.
Leaf Description
The leaves are dark green, glossy and glabrous. The foliage is elliptical in shape, with a cuneate base, entire leaf margin and an obtuse apice. The leaves are 5-10 cm long and 2-3 cm wide
Flower Description
The flower is quite small and points downwards. It measures approximately 1 cm from the brown base to the creamy- white coloured petal tips. The flowers only partially open, revealing the stigma and pistil, a notable characteristic of the Sapotaceae family. As the flower ages, the ovary ripens, petals turn a dark red opening more and revealing the inside workings.
Fruit Description
Fruits are bright red, 2-3 cm long and ellipsoidal in shaped.
Colour Description
Its bark is a light grey to medium brown. The foliage is a deep green like many tropicals. Flowers are creamy-white with brown bases. The fruit is bright red or scarlet in colour.
Texture Description
It is a medium textured plant all over. The glossy foliage, small flowers, bright berries and bark are smooth textured.
Propagation is through seed or cutting. Seeds do not remain recalcitrant for very long after the removal of the fleshy fruit layer, so it is important to plant seeds as soon as possible. Remove all fruit pulp from the seed and plant in an acidic soil with a pH of 4.5-5.8. Germination should occur within 3-6 weeks. For cuttings, take from the older branches, at least 15 cm long. Remove all leaves except the upper foliage. Using a sterile blade, cut the stem 1 cm below the last node. Dip or dust the cut portion of the cutting in rooting hormone and plant into container of soil. Place the container in a tray and water the cutting thoroughly.
Oliver-Bever, Bep. Medicinal Plants of Tropical West Africa. Cambridge University Press. p. 266. Print.