Dioscoreophyllum volkensii

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Dioscoreophyllum volkensii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Menispermaceae
Genus: Dioscoreophyllum
Species: D. volkensii
Binomial name
Dioscoreophyllum volkensii
Engl.
Synonyms[1]
  • Dioscoreophyllum fernandense Hutch. & Dalziel
  • Dioscoreophyllum podandrium Exell
  • Dioscoreophyllum tenerum Engl.

Dioscoreophyllum volkensii (Serendipity berry), is a tropical dioecious rainforest vine in the family Menispermaceae. It is native throughout most of tropical Africa from Sierra Leone east to Eritrea, and south to Angola and Mozambique. It grows at low altitudes, from sea level up to 400 m. Some authors separate plants from above 200 m as a separate species D. cumminsii (Stapf) Diels.[2]

There are two varieties:[2]

  • Dioscoreophyllum volkensii var. volkensii. Endemic to the island of Bioko in Equitorial Guinea.
  • Dioscoreophyllum volkensii var. fernandense (Hutch. & Dalziel) Troupin. Mainland Africa.

Uses[edit]

The fruit contains monellin, an intensely sweet protein with potential use as a sugar replacement for diabetics.[3] For humans, monellin is 100,000 times sweeter than sucrose.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Plant List
  2. ^ a b African Plants Database: Dioscoreophyllum volkensii
  3. ^ Oselebe, H. O., & Nwankiti, O. C. (2005). Cytology of root tips of Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii. Agro-Science 4 (1): 43-45. Abstract
  4. ^ This, Hervé (2006). Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-13312-8.