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Tree Description: Monstera is a fast growing broadleaf vine with a cylindrical, thick stem 2 to 4 inches (5–10 cm) in diameter that may grow along the ground or, if allowed, will climb onto trees and structures. The vine may exceed 70 ft (21 m) in length if left unpruned. The vine stem is covered with leaf scars from previous leaves and from it develop numerous, long, cord-like aerial roots. Left uncontrolled, the vine may be somewhat invasive i.e., take over the landscape or climb trees.
Scientific Name: Monstera deliciosa
Common Name: (English) Mexican-breadfruit, monstera, Swiss-cheese-plant; (Spanish) balazos, harpón, piñanona monstera
Relatives: Numerous Philodendron species
Origin: Native to wet forests of southern Mexico, Guatemala and parts of Costa Rica and Panama
Distribution: It was introduced into cultivation in England in 1752; reached Singapore in 1877 and India in 1878. Specimens of the fruit were exhibited by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1874 and 1881. It has become familiar as an ornamental in most of the warm countries of the world and is widely used in warm and temperate regions as a potted plant indoors,—especially in conservatories and greenhouses—though it does not bloom nor fruit in confinement. In Guatemala, it is raised in pots in patios to prevent too rampant growth, as it is apt to become an aggressive nuisance. The fruits are marketed to some extent in Queensland and, in the past, were sometimes shipped from Florida to gourmet grocers in New York and Philadelphia.
Importance: Fully ripe pulp is like a blend of pineapple and banana. It may be served as dessert with a little light cream, or may be added to fruit cups, salads or ice cream. 1
In general, monstera is eaten as a fresh fruit, although the pulp may be used as an ingredient in desserts. The fruit contains large amounts of oxalic acid, and it is not recommended to eat large quantities of this fruit at any one time. The oxalic acid, and possibly other unidentified principles, in the unripe fruit, the floral remnants of the ripe fruit, and all parts of the plant, cause oral and skin irritation. (Please wait for fruit to fully ripen before consuming.)