Did You Know…?

Monstera deliciosa

Growing on the ground you can see a Swiss Cheese plant. The plant was named for the holes in the leaves. It produces a spathe and spadix, similar in size and color to those produced by the tree philodendron. However, its spathe falls off the plant a couple of days after opening, leaving the green spadix visible, but sheltered beneath the leafy canopy above.

There is a big difference in the make-up of the spadix of Monstera versus the spadix of the tree philodendron. The spadix of Monstera is composed of just two kinds of flowers—male and female—mixed together over the entire length of the spadix. At maturity (about 9 months after blooming) the green corn-cob like “fruits” (spadices) become edible (see the second name of the plant….deliciosa!) when the hexagonal green plates that cover their surface fall off, but only the portion beneath where the plates fall off should be eaten (about 1 inch per day up the spadix).

The plant blooms during the mid to late summer and the fruits ripen about 9 to 12 months later. The juvenile forms of the plant are grown by florists on bark slabs (totems) in pots and are sometimes sold as split-leaved philodendrons, although they are not in the Genus Philodendron.

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