Blue Berries, Not

Our once-a-week, high-school aged gardener took the weedeater to a grove of Miconia rubiginosa for the first time this past weekend and uncovered this.

Blue on the ground

I thought they were a particularly bright blue berry of some kind.

They look like berries

Took a few back to the front porch and sliced a couple open.

Fruit split open, with seeds

Hmm. Well, if “berry” means “… any fruit that has its seeds enclosed in a fleshy pulp, for example, a banana or tomato” [my computer’s built-in dictionary definition], then I guess it’s not a berry. No fleshy pulp.

This is going to be fun to sort out.

About Mary

I spent a few years at sea, and I never came back from a cruise without having learned something new about the ocean or what lived in it. After retiring to Panama, I began to learn something new about the tropical savanna ecosystem nearly every day I stepped outside. I focused on plants, those marvelous signs of life. Now I'm in my second retirement, living in Sicily. I'm leaving my plant studies online for those who have found them useful.
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8 Responses to Blue Berries, Not

  1. Something about it says Rubiaceae, and the plant looks like a Geophila, except I’m used to seeing red berries. But I think dark blue/blue fruits may exist. Hope that helps.

  2. Mary says:

    Hi Phyto, and thanks! You’re probably right about Rubiaceae – I’m pretty sure some Psychotria species (which this plant probably is not) have this color to their fruits. I’ll follow the Geophila lead, and otherwise keep an open mind for now. 😉

  3. Yes, Psychotria cyanococca has electric blue fruits, but they’re all shrubs I thought.

    • Mary says:

      Plus the leaves are way different. I did find an image of Geophila macropoda with dark blue fruits here. The leaves are closer, anyway, to mine. My next step is to pull out the Rubiaceae volumes from Flora of Panama and roll up those sleeves.

  4. Audrey and Gwyn Williams says:

    Found something very similar during a trip to Trinidad before Christmas. How about the fruit of the Hot Lips plant, Cephaelis tomentosa? And it’s from the Ribiaceae.

    • Mary says:

      Hello Audrey and Gwyn,
      Yes, I agree, that the fruit looks a little like the fruit from Cephaelis tomentosa (aka Psychotria poeppigiana) but this plant is a ground-hugger and hot-lips is a pretty big shrub here in Panama. Still, I think your observation helps support the idea that this plant is in the Rubiaceae or coffee family.
      Thank you for your note!

  5. Dr. Hans-Ulrich Meyer says:

    the blue fruits are the fruits of the rubiaceae Coccosypselum spec.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you, Dr. Meyer. Using your information, I was able to locate several images of the genus on Flickr. It’s satisfying to have a name.

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