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  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Tender Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade

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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 2m 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.

Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii Serendipity Berry, Guinea potato

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii Serendipity Berry, Guinea potato
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.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

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

Edible Uses
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 ].
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.


Other Uses
Other Uses: None known:
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.
Plants can be grown from seed or tubers. Seeds need to germinate in the dark. Plants can be grown from stem cuttings.
Other Names
Ito-igbin, Minbagem Ngbi,
Found In
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


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Expert comment
(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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Subject : Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii  

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