Monstera deliciosa (Costilla de Adán)

Monstera deliciosaMonstera deliciosa (Costilla de Adán) Aka Swiss Cheese Plant, Adam’s Rib, Tarovine, Fruit salad plant, Fruit salad tree (in reference to its edible fruit, which tastes similar to a fruit salad), Ceriman, Cheese plant, Monster fruit, Monsterio delicio, Monstereo, Mexican breadfruit, Locust and wild honey, Windowleaf, Balazo, and Penglai banana. The names in Spanish (costilla de Adán) or Portuguese (costela-de-adão) or French (plante gruyère) refer the change of the leaves from entire to fenestrated (comparing it in the first case with the ribs of Adam and in the second with the hole-filled gruyère cheese). The specific epithet deliciosa means “delicious”, referring to the edible fruit. “Monstera” refers to its leaf size ranging from 2-3 ft. long.

MonsteraMonstera is a species of flowering plant native to tropical rainforests of southern Mexico, south to Panama. It has now naturalized in tropical America. Young plants have leaves that are smaller and entire with no lobes or holes, but soon produce lobed and fenestrate leaves.

MonsteraWild 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. (CC image from Pictures from Longwood Gardens taken by Raul654 On May 1, 2005)

Monstera BloomThe bloom becomes a completely edible fruit known for its fruity flavor, but not utilized in any cuisine from P.R..

This member of the arum family Araceae is an epiphyte with aerial roots, able to grow up to 20 m (66 ft) high with large, leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves 25–90 cm (10–35.5 in) long by 25–75 cm (10–29.5 in) broad.

MonsteraMonstera deliciosa Liebm. [as Monstera lennea K. Koch] Berliner allgemeine Gartenzeitung, vol. 25: (1857)



39 thoughts on “Monstera deliciosa (Costilla de Adán)

    • Epiphytes can be similar to orchids or bromeliads but some like these do start out with soil because that is where they reproduce. They have very inconspicuous flowers which bloom very close to the ground because they need the soil, unlike aerial orchids which can bloom anywhere away from it. This is a type of “philodendron” which will always have a huge “meristem” as a trunk, so this in itself is the heart of the plant and it does need soil to reproduce. Aerial orchids have this “meristem” already within the roots themselves.

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  1. I’ve been trying to remember my mother’s philodendron. It was a split-leaf, I believe, which was much in fashion during the 1960s, but different from this one. It’s very attractive. When I read “epiphyte,” I thought of our Spanish moss, but I see that it differs from this plant because it has no roots, and isn’t dependent on soil.
    Plants that change form as they grow (changing colors, or gaining holes, as with this one) are so interesting.


    • There are several split-leaf Philodendrons, and I’d love to cover them all. Some are similar to this one and are climbers also.

      I just read Spanish-moss is an epiphyte which absorbs nutrients and water through its leaves from the air and rainfall, but they have no roots. I remember seeing it Florida and was fascinated by it.


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