From the Quisqualis Website
by Bob G. Cannon II




Miracle Fruit Flowers and Fruit


Miracle Fruit, one of the family Sapotaceae is a relative of the sapodilla and botanically known as Synsepalum dulcificum, I, for one, prefer the older common name Miraculous Berry from 1852. It does live up to its name by turning your sour taste buds off and letting the sugars already present in some foods shine through. These small red fruits turn the sourest lemon or lime into one of the sweetest fruits you have ever eaten and you can enjoy a morning grapefruit sans sugar or honey. Although contrary to some popular beliefs the bitter of black coffee is not changed, as our bitter taste buds are not affected by eating a Miraculous Berry.

These plants have small flowers that start out a cream colour and turn a dark red to black when past mature. Since they are so small many who grow them have never taken a good look at one and this article just might help you see the Miracle Fruit in an entirely new way. There are also a couple of links provided to other information and images.

 
Two Miracle Fruit Flowers

Two Miracle Fruit Flowers. The one on the left is about 3 days old and has darkened with age. The flower on the right opened the day that the photo was taken and is a creamy white. If you look closely you can see the stigma or female part of the flower just showing in the small opening at the tip of the flower. Miracle Fruit flowers only open this small bit unlike more familiar flowers.

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Young flower These two flowers are both young and the side view makes it a bit easier to see the stigma where it emerges from the center of the Miracle Fruit Flower. This characteristic partial opening of the flower is common in other members of the Sapotaceae such as the sapodilla.

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Older flower This older flower has mature petals that have turned dark red and shrunken back some so that the stigma is more exposed. The tip of the stigma appears brown and dry and it has passed the receptive stage for pollen. A good image showing three mature flowers and a bud is located here:
http://www.quisqualis.com/mirfrtdmc1b.html

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Disection of a flower I wanted to get an even closer, more detailed look at a Miracle Fruit flower so dissection was necessary. You can see just how small this flower is against the mm scale of the ruler. The style and part of the ovary have broken loose and thus the stigma is extended unnaturally far from the flower.

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Dissection Here you can follow the stigma down the style to the ovary which develops into the fruit. The ovary has been split but the detail is insufficient to show the developing seed and flesh. To the right you can see the pollen bearing anthers atop short filaments.

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Close-up with contrast

This is the same image as above with the contrast adjusted to pull out a bit more of the flower's details.

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Fruit Unlike the more perfect fruits illustrated in the article at:
http://www.quisqualis.com/mirfrtdmc1a.html
this fruit is misshapen and this may be due to improper or incomplete pollination. The reason for this is difficult with small flowers and fruit. We ate the fruit and the full taste changing affect was present. You can also see that the pistil has remained attached to the fruit on the left side of the image.

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Seed

Just as the fruit was not quite perfectly shaped the seed is also a bit lop sided. It does have the came sheen and color of any seeds in the Sapotaceae family. To discover if it is viable it was planted and with luck will soon produce a seedling.

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To finish this article out I will see if I can provide some images taken through a microscope in the future. The pollen looks to be white and using a microscope I should be able to show you the shape.

Microphotography and additional images found here.



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Miracle Fruit



Bibliography

Cannon II, Bob. G. "Miracle Fruit Flowers and Fruit." quisqualis.com. Quisqualis Rare Fruit, Tropical Fruit and Rare Plant Information. 1992, 2006. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.

Photographs

Cannon II, Bob. G. Miracle Fruit Flowers and Fruit. 2008. Quisqualis Rare Fruit, Tropical Fruit and Rare Plant Information. quisqualis.com. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.

Published 31 Mar. 2015 LR
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