Swiss Cheese Plant
( Monstera deliciosaa).Leaves, fFlowers, fruit.
Swiss Cheese Plant - Monstera deliciosa
Monstera deliciosa is a species of flowering plant native to tropical forests of southern Mexico, south to Panama. It has been introduced to many tropical areas, and has become a mildly invasive species in Hawaii, Seychelles, Ascension Island and the Society
The specific epithet deliciosa means "delicious", referring to the edible fruit, while monstera means "monstrous," in reference to the sheer size that this plant can grow to—over 30 feet in many
Common names include fruit salad plant, fruit salad tree (in reference to its edible fruit, which tastes similar to a fruit salad), ceriman, Swiss cheese plant (or just cheese plant), monster fruit, monsterio delicio, monstereo, Mexican breadfruit, locust and wild honey, windowleaf, balazo, and Penglai banana. The names in Spanish (costilla de Adan) or Portuguese (costela-de-adao) or French (plante gruyere) refer to the change of the leaves from entire to fenestrated (comparing it in the first case with the ribs of Adam and in the second with the hole-filled gruyere cheese). In Mexico, the plant is sometimes referred to as pinanona.
This member of the arum family Araceae is an epiphyte with aerial roots, able to grow up to 20 m (66
ft) high with large, leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves 25–90 cm (10–35.5
in) long by 25–75 cm (10–29.5 in) broad. Young plants have leaves that are smaller and entire with no lobes or
holes, but soon produce lobed and fenestrate leaves.
Wild seedlings grow towards the darkest area they can grow until they find a tree
trunk, then start to grow up towards the light, creeping up the tree.
Why the leaves of the plant are full of holes? Monstera deliciosa
relies on capturing unpredictable shafts of
sunlight, known as "sunflecks", in order to photosynthesise for energy.
Only as the plant matures does it grow taller, reaching parts of the understory with more flecks of
sunlight. Then the leaves become larger, develop holes and are held away from the
trunk, where they have a better chance of capturing the sunlight necessary to
survive. Although a leaf with holes will miss some sunlight, because it filters through the
holes, solid leaves with the same surface area actually take up less space, so their access to sunlight is
The flower of M. deliciosa is composed of a special bract called a spathe enclosing a spadix. These flowers are bisexual, meaning they contain both androecium and gynoecium. Since they contain both structures, this plant is able to
Monstera deliciosa is commonly grown for interior decoration in public buildings and as a houseplant. Commonly referred to as the Split Leaf Philodendron. It grows best between the temperatures of 20–30 °C (68–86 °F) and requires high humidity and shade. Growth ceases below 10 °C (50 °F) and it is killed by frost. In the coastal zones of Sicily, especially in the Palermo area, where it is called "zampa di leone" ("lion's paw"), it is often cultivated outdoors. In ideal conditions it flowers about three years after it is planted. Flowering is rare when grown indoors. The plant can be propagated by taking cuttings of a mature plant or by air
layering. Monstera deliciosa and the cultivar 'Variegata' have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden
The fruit of Monstera deliciosa is up to 25 cm long and 3–4 cm 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. The fruit is edible and safe for
Forcing a M. deliciosa to flower outside of its typical tropical habitat proves to be difficult. Specific conditions need to be met for the plant to flower. However, in its tropical and subtropical habitat, the plant flowers easily. In these areas where it grows naturally, M. deliciosa is considered a delicacy due to its sweet and exotic
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
The fruit first shows signs of ripening by its bottommost scales becoming yellowed. As it ripens, the starch that was stored in the green fruit is converted to sugar, giving it its sweet flavor. This mechanism is comparable to how banana fruits ripen. The strong odor the fruit produces becomes noticeable when it is half-ripe. As time passes and the fruit continues to ripen, the odor becomes stronger. After it becomes fully ripe, however, the scent deteriorates
The fruit may be ripened by cutting it when the first scales begin to lift up and it begins to exude a pungent odor. It is wrapped in a paper bag and set aside until the scales begin popping off. The scales are then brushed off or fall away to reveal the edible flesh underneath. The flesh, which is similar to pineapple in texture, can be cut away from the core and eaten. It has a fruity taste similar to jackfruit and pineapple. The unripe green fruits can irritate the throat and the latex of the leaves and vines can create rashes in the skin, because both contain potassium oxalate: that is the reason why the fruits have to be consumed when the scales lift up. The black irritant fibres can be swept off with the application of a little citrus
Plants grown indoors in temperate regions occasionally produce flowers and fruit.
The aerial roots of these plants, as well as those of some other
aroids, particularly Philodendron, often attain a great length, reaching from the branches of fairly high trees almost or quite to the
ground. They are much used in Guatemala for making the so-called mimbre
furniture, similar to the light rattan furniture made commonly in the United
States. The dried roots, of uniform diameter, or sometimes the fresh ones, are wound tightly and evenly about a wooden
frame, forming handsome and durable articles of furniture. The aerial roots have been used as ropes in Peru, and to make baskets in
Mexico. In Mexico, a leaf or root infusion is drunk daily to relieve arthritis. In Martinique the root is used to make a remedy for