YMagnificent Monstera Deliciosa – “Delicious Monster”
All photographs of the Monstera Deliciosa featured here have been taken in our garden. Our beautiful Monstera plant is over 35 years old. It faces the eastern sun and enjoys filtered sunlight and shelter from the hot western sun, planted amongst tree ferns and philodendrons.
Monstera Deliciosa, a member of the arum family Araceae is an epiphyte with aerial roots, able to grow up to 20m (65 feet) high with large, leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves up to 90cm (35 inch) long by up to 75cm (30 inch) broad.
Flower of Monstera Deliciosa
The inflorescence which is rarely produced indoors, is a half oval creamy white spathe with a thick 25cm long spadix in the middle. The spadix develops into the edible fruit.
Fruit of Monstera Deliciosa
The fruit of Monstera deliciosa is up to 25 cm (9.8 in) long and 3–4 cm (1.2–1.6 in) diameter, looking like a green ear of maize covered with hexagonal scales. As the fruit ripens, these scales or platelets fall off the fruit, releasing a strong and sweet scent. The smell has been compared to a combination of pineapples and bananas.
It takes longer than a year for fruits to reach maturity. As it ripens, the starch that was stored in the green fruit is converted to sugar, giving it its sweet flavor.
Strong aerial roots grip onto supportive trees, brick walls or wood structures if available, or they may hang down toward the ground.
Large perforated leaves
The leaves are deeply incised from the edges almost to the central vein and perforated in the remaining sections, giving rise to one of the common names, Swiss Cheese Plant. This breaking up of the leaf area also helps the wild plants to withstand high tropical winds – and perhaps explain the origin of another of their common names, Hurricane Plant. Several photos from the underside of the leaves show the beautiful patterns.
Young plants have leaves that are smaller and entire with no lobes or holes, but soon produce lobed and fenestrate leaves as they grow.
Picking and Ripening the fruit
As it ripens, the fruit begins to turn lighter green. It can be picked just before the first scales are about to lift up. To finish ripening, place in a paper bag, or stand in a glass jar, stalk upward, and set aside on the bench until the scales begin loosening. The scales are then brushed off or allowed to fall away to reveal the edible flesh underneath. The flesh, which is similar to pineapple in texture, can be easily prised away from the core and eaten. It has a fruity taste similar to pineapple and fruit salad. The small black fibres can be swept off with the application of a little citrus juice.
Unripe fruit should not be eaten
Fruits of plants of the Araceae (Arum family) often contain raphides and trichosclereids – needle-like structures of calcium oxalate. In M. deliciosa, unripe fruit containing these needle-like crystalline structures can cause irritation of the mouth.
Popular decor plant
Monstera Deliciosa is widely used as an ornamental plant in the tropics and subtropics. Its ease of cultivation and attractive appearance also makes it a very widespread plant in apartments in temperate regions. The variegated Monstera (not pictured here) is rare and highly sought after in Australia.
Monstera deliciosa and the cultivar ‘Variegata’ have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
Monstera Deliciosa originates from the humid tropical forests in southern Mexico, south to Panama.
Species: M. deliciosa
All photos of the Monstera Deliciosa featured here have been taken in our garden, in Melbourne, Australia.
An in-depth study of Monstera: