Alice in Wonderland by Lisa Mitchell

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Delicious monster!

What’s big and green and creeping??

...has leathery, glossy, large heart-shaped leaves used in flower arrangements and is commonly grown as interior decoration?

With aerial roots that have been known to make ropes in Peru,

and baskets in Mexico…where it’s leaf and root infusion is drunk daily to relieve arthritis.

In Martinique the root is used to make a remedy for snakebite.

A member of the Arum family,
this exotic plant which is native to tropical rainforests of southern Mexico,
has found a home in our humble backyard.

Why…it has to be Monsterio Deliciosa.

Also known as: Ceriman, Swiss Cheese Plant (or just Cheese Plant), Fruit Salad Plant, Monster fruit, Monsterio Delicio, Monstereo, Mexican Breadfruit, Monstera, split-leaf philodendron, Locust and Wild Honey, Lions Paw, Windowleaf and Delicious Monster

I first planted it as a way of easily obtaining the beautiful large green leaves, when I had a wedding or other church event to decorate.

It has happily lived in our backyard for about 15 years. Just recently, My Knight had to do some rather severe pruning, or it would have swallowed our large palm tree.

But as delightful as it looks,
and as useful as it may be to many peoples…
the thing I really want to tell you about is its FRUIT!!

Which is utterly amazing in every way.

The unique fruit is up to 25 cm long and 3–4 cm diameter, looking like a green ear of maize covered with hexagonal scales.

The fruit can be ripened by cutting it when the first scales begin to lift up and it begins to exude a pungent odor. (pineapple/banana-like) You then wrap it 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 slightly similar to pineapple in texture, can be pulled away from the core and eaten. It has a fruity taste similar to jackfruit and pineapple.



This totally deliciously yummy fruit…has a dark side.

The fruit often contain things called Raphides and Trichosclereids – needle like structures of calcium oxalate, approximately 6mm long. These manifest themselves more so if you try to eat the fruit BEFORE it is properly ripened…and you will know if you have tasted the not quite ripened flesh, as your mouth has the sensation of sharp stinging prickles.

So best to wait until the little scales have fallen away from the fruit by themselves, and don’t go picking them off. Just eat what is ripened and then put it back inside the paper bag until the next day.

Funny how our backyard seems to surprise me with 'usefulness' and 'yummy delight', when I only really wanted 'pretty'...must go and see if there is another of these wonderful fruit ready for picking...


  1. Wow, that is really interesting. I had no idea this plant produced an edible fruit! TFS

  2. WOOWOWOWOOWWW! THAT IS ONE WILD PLANT!!!! Hello dearest! You certainly have a LOVELY and enchanted garden! It looks luscious, however, in spite of those thorns!!! Like life, non?

    BLESSINGS ! Anita

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this! I had no idea that this fruit existed.



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