Monstera deliciosa

Published on: 13 April 2017
By Citizen Scientists of Unixploria
Species:M. deliciosa

The specific epithet deliciosa means “delicious”, referring to the edible fruit, while monstera means “monstrous”, in reference to the size that this plant can grow to, over 9 m in many cases.

Its popular name as a houseplant of “Swiss cheese plant”, or just “cheese plant”, refers to the holes which develop in the leaves, being humorously compared to some Swiss cheeses like Emmenthal cheese, which also have holes. Monstera adansonii which also has holes in the leaves is also called “Swiss cheese plant”, or Swiss cheese vine.

Other common names include fruit salad plant, fruit salad tree (in reference to its edible fruit, which tastes similar to a fruit salad), ceriman, monster fruit, monsterio delicio, monstereo, Mexican breadfruit, window leaf, balazo, Penglai banana and (inaccurately) split leaf philodendron. The names in Spanish (costilla de Adán), Portuguese (costela-de-adão), and French (plante gruyère) refer to the change of the leaves from entire to fenestrated (comparing it in the first two cases with the ribs of Adam and in the third with the hole-filled gruyère cheese). In Mexico, the plant is sometimes referred to as piñanona. In coastal regions of Sicily, especially Palermo, it is called zampa di leone (lion’s paw).

This member of the arum family Araceae is an epiphyte with aerial roots, able to grow up to 20 m high in the wild, with large, leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves 25–90 cm long by 25–75 cm broad. The leaves on young plants are smaller and entire with no lobes or holes, but soon produce lobed and fenestrate leaves as they grow. Although it can become very tall, it only measures between 2 and 3 m when grown indoors. The leaves are large (up to 1 m), heart-shaped and pinnate. The older the plant, the more the leaves are covered with its familiar large perforations.

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.

The inflorescence is adorned with a cream-white spathe of uniform, velvety appearance, covering, like a hood, a yellowish-white spadix 10 to 15 cm (3.9 to 5.9 in) high and about 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter. Flowers are self-pollinating, containing both androecium and gynoecium. Since they provide both structures, this plant can self-pollinate.


Aquired: 2019.

Indb: #2