Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Thaumatococcus daniellii
(Benn.) Benth. ex B. D. Jacks., Marantaceae
No images for this taxon

Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Phrynium daniellii Benn.

Common name(s): [more details]

English: katempfe, miracle berry, miracle-fruit, sweet prayer plant

Habit:  herb


Genus:  "Leaves ovate-elliptic, rounded-truncate at the base, shortly acuminate, up to 46 cm long and 30 cm broad, papery, with very numerous parallel nerves diverging from the midrib at an angle of about 45 degrees; petiole subterete; spikes simple or forked, about 10 cm long; bracts imbricate, 4 cm long; flowers as long as the bracts; sepals broadly linear, 1 cm long; corolla-tube very short, lobes oblong, 2.5 cm long; ovary silky; fruit 3-winged, hard, 3 cm in diameter" (Hutchinson & Dalziel, 1968).

Species:  A herb up to 10 ft. high; rhizome slender, creeping; spikes arising from the base, rough with the scars of fallen flowers, the latter pale purple; fruit crimson, at or below ground-level; seeds black, hard, shining" (Hutchinson & Dalziel, 1968; vol. III, part 1, pp. 81-82).

Habitat/ecology:  In Australia, naturalized on the edges of tropical rainforest (Csurhes & Edwards, 1998; p. 131).  "In large clumps in forest" (Hutchinson & Dalziel, 1968; vol. III, part 1, pp. 81-82).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Tropical Africa (GRIN).


Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental) introduced
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 131)
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 86)

Comments:  A potential invasive species in Australia (Csurhes & Edwards, 1998; p. 131).

Additional information:
Additional online information about Thaumatococcus daniellii is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Thaumatococcus daniellii as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Thaumatococcus daniellii may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).


Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp.

Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. 1998. Potential environmental weeds in Australia: Candidate species for preventative control. Canberra, Australia. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia. 208 pp.

Hutchinson, J./Dalziel, M. D./Keay, R. W. J. 1954. Flora of West Tropical Africa, second edition. Crown Agents, London.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. 2013. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online searchable database.

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This page was created on 1 JUL 2004 and was last updated on 26 OCT 2006.