Habitat : Monstera deliciosa is a creeping vine native to tropical rainforests of southern Mexico south to Panama.
Monstera, split-leaf philodendron, Locust and Wild Honey, Windowleaf and Delicious Monster.It is epiphytic vine A jungle climbing relative of the philodendron from Mexico and Guatemala. It is seen in gardens in tropical and subtropical areas, growing well in partial sun or shade. The plant begins bearing after three years. Popular as a houseplant, it seldom fruits in the home. The large pinnate leaves are perforated with oblong or oval holes, hence one common name. The 9″, dull, deep green, cone-like fruit is actually an unripened flower spike, covered with hexagonal scales that dry out and separate as the fruit ripens from the base upwards, revealing the white pulp. It takes a little longer than a year to mature to an edible stage. Unripe fruit, if eaten causes irritation to the mouth and throat because of the oxalic acid. It can be induced to ripen by picking when the base has started to wrinkle and wrapping in a bag for a few days. When unwrapped, the scales should have separated.
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Another interesting characteristic of this plant is that the seedlings, upon germination, will grow in the direction of the darkest area (not just merely away from light) until they encounter the base of a tree to grow on. They will then begin to climb toward the light which is generally up into the canopy of the tree upon which it is growing.
This member of the Arum family is an epiphyte with aerial roots, able to grow up to 20 m high with large, leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves 25–90 cm long by 25–75 cm broad. Young plants have leaves that are smaller and entire with no lobes or holes, but soon produce lobed and holed leaves. Wild seedlings grow towards the darkest area they can find until they find a tree trunk, then start to grow up towards the light, creeping up the tree.
The fruit is up to 25 cm long and 3–4 cm diameter, looking like a green ear of maize covered with hexagonal scales.Fruits of plants of the Araceae (Arum family) often contain Raphides and Trichosclereids – needle like structures of calcium oxalate.
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 plant is commonly grown for interior decoration in public buildings and as a houseplant. It grows best between the temperatures of 20 °C and 30 °C and requires high humidity and shade. Growth ceases below 10 °C 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 transplanted by taking cuttings of a mature plant or by air layering.
Propagation:Propagated by cuttings of mature wood or air layering.
The spadix is develops over a year’s time into a fruit shaped like a miniature ear of corn; yellow scales drop off when ripe. It has a pulp that tastes pleasantly sweet with a pineapple-banana fragrance. Monstera deliciosa is most often used fresh.
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In Mexico, a leaf or root infusion is drunk daily to relieve arthritis.
In Martinique the root is used to make a remedy for snakebite.
The aerial roots have been used as ropes in Peru, and to make baskets in Mexico.
Windowleaf may be grown as a garden plant in tropical climates or as a house plant. House plants require indirect light and moist, well-draining soil. Fertilize during the growing season, and wipe leaves down with a damp sponge. Use rainwater or demineralized water, and reduce watering during the winter.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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