In recent years, Monstera plants have become a star of our Instagram and Pinterest feeds. This tall, tropical
plant, also known as the “swiss cheese plant”, has perforated leaves, a vibrant green color that
resembles its natural habitat in the jungle, and is well recognized as a house plant. But here in South Florida, we know this plant is as popular inside as out; we often find it anchoring landscapes.
There is so much to love about this plant. From its “delicious” sounding Latin name (Monstera deliciosa), to its iconic leaves, there’s something in it for everyone. What you may not realize, however, is this familiar plant also provides us a delicious fruit! Sometimes called “Fruit Salad Plant” because the fruit tastes a bit like just about every delicious tropical fruit that exists. Strawberry, banana, mango, guava, passion fruit, and pineapple are all flavors attributed to this fruit.
Enjoying Monstera deliciosa requires a special kind of patience. It takes at least 10 months for the fruit of the Monstera deliciosa to fully develop on the plant. So after nearly a year, that very exciting moment arrives: you get to pick the fruit. Time to enjoy it, right? Not so fast… at this point that’d be a bad idea; there is still some risk involved because if you eat it unripe, you’ll experience a burning in your mouth and throat.
So we must wait for the fruit to tell us its ready. When ripe, the scales on the outside start to loosen and will reveal the inside with very little human intervention. An unripe fruit hurts because it contains large amounts of calcium oxalate. The leaves also contain a great deal, so if you or your pets snack on monstera, it might lead to stomach cramps and diarrhea.
The fruit looks a bit like an ear of corn, or a big cucumber coated with small pieces of green hexagonal
armor all over it. It resembles the result of some superhero-level radiation. But once you get into the meaty portion underneath the hard outer shell, it resembles a soft white pineapple with the texture of a sugar apple. It is a fibrous, gooey-textured fruit surrounding a hard, inedible middle core. The edible part separates a bit like corn kernels.
The fruit smells strongly of tropical sweetness, a very bright aroma. You will start to smell this exotic smell as the fruit ripens. The aroma continues to get stronger and more pungent as it gets closer to being fully ripe.
Once a section is wholly ripe, and the outer shell falls off easily, you can simply bite right into the fruit like you would an ear of corn. By ripening only an inch or two a day, this fruit moderates your consumption, naturally. But Monstera deliciosa is very low in calories, so that doesn’t need to be of concern. It’s also high in potassium and vitamin C, good for a healthy immune system.
When do monsteras fruit?
The Monstera deliciosa plant rarely produces fruit which contributes to its delicacy status. It will only flower and produce fruit in optimal conditions: a warm and humid environment, like a rainforest – or certain Miami-area yards, not so much in your living room. Under ideal conditions, it fruits in the fall and winter. So keep a look out; if you see a flower or fruit start to grow on your swiss cheese plant, guard it carefully. This fruit is a treasure that every rare fruit enthusiast should enjoy at least once in our lives.