Scientific Name: Monstera deliciosa
Synonym: Philodendron pertusum
Common Names: Monstera, Tarovine, Swiss Cheese Plant, Monster Fruit, Split-leaf Philodendron, Mexican Breadfruit, Windowleaf, Salad Fruit
Duration: Perennial, Evergreen
Growth Habit: Vine, Herb/Forb
Hawaii Native Status: Cultivated. This ornamental garden plant, tropical foliage plant, houseplant, and food plant is native to Mexico and Central America.
Flower Color: Yellowish with a cream-colored spathe
Height: Climbing up to 100 feet (30 m) tall
Description: The tiny flowers are in an upright, fleshy, phallic, pale yellowish, up to 1 foot (30 cm) long spadix (flower spike) enclosed by a large, creamy white, boat-shaped spathe (petal-like bract). The inflorescences look like large, crude calla lilies. The flowers are followed by large, green, fleshy, phallic or corncob-like fruits with hexagonal fruit segments and aromatic white flesh. The leaves are large, up to 3 feet (0.9 m) across, glossy dark green, leathery, alternate, heart-shaped, and pinnately dissected with deep slits and oblong, Swiss cheese-like perforations along the midrib. The stems either sprawl on the ground or climb trees using aerial roots that can become long and trailing.
Here in Hawaii, Monstera is very common and grows best in warm, moist, humid, partly shady gardens, where it likes to climb trees. The leaves can be used in tropical flower arrangements.
Edible – The white flesh of the ripe fruit segments is edible and has a delicious tropical fruit salad flavor. The fruits are very slow to ripen. The fruit segments are ripe when the green hexagonal scales pop off.
Poisonous – The foliage and unripe fruits are poisonous and contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause severe mouth irritation.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Family: Araceae – Arum family
Genus: Monstera Adans. – monstera
Species: Monstera deliciosa Liebm. – tarovine