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Monstera deliciosa - Liebm.

Common Name Ceriman, Windowleaf
Family Araceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards All parts of the plant contain calcium oxalate crystals. This substance is toxic fresh and, if eaten, makes the mouth, tongue and throat feel as if hundreds of small needles are digging in to them. However, calcium oxalate is easily broken down either by thoroughly cooking the plant or by fully drying it and, in either of these states, it is safe to eat the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet[238 ].(All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction)
Habitats An epiphytic vine, growing in the branches of trees in moist or wet, mountain forests at elevations of 900 - 1,500 metres[331 ].
Range C. America - Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Monstera deliciosa Ceriman, Windowleaf

Monstera deliciosa Ceriman, Windowleaf


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Native to tropical rainforests of Mexico, Monstera deliciosa or Ceriman is a climbing, flowering shrub commonly grown as an ornamental indoor plant but has delicious, edible fruits. It grows about 20 m high, with aerial roots and large, leathery, glossy, and heart-shaped leaves. It can be propagated by air layering or internal cuttings. The aerial roots are used as ropes and in making baskets. Root infusion is used against arthritis. The whole plant can be toxic when consumed fresh because it contains calcium oxalate crystals which can easily be broken down by thoroughly cooking or fully drying the plant.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Monstera deliciosa is an evergreen Climber growing to 20 m (65ft) by 6 m (19ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Monstera lennea K.Koch Monstera tacanaensis Matuda Philodendron anatomicum Kunth Tornelia fragrans G

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses: Drink

Fruit - raw. The juicy, subacid fruits have an excellent aroma and taste, combining the flavours of bananas and pineapples[46 , 301 ]. The fruit is eaten raw, made into jellies and jams, and is also used in ice creams, sherbets, soft drinks etc[301 , 335 ]. Some people find the fruit unpleasant to eat because it can contain irritating crystals in the pulp[335 ]. The fruit is 8 - 12mm long, held in a bunch on a spadix that can be 25cm long[200 , 301 ]. The fruiting spadices become whitish at maturity and very juicy. They are sweet and of good flavour and often are eaten, but care must be taken to eat only fruits that are thoroughly ripe, since immature ones will cause swelling and irritation of the mouth because of needle-like crystals of calcium oxalate found in the tissues or sap[331 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Basketry  Furniture  Weaving

Other Uses The aerial roots of these plants, as well as those of some other aroids, particularly Philodendron, often attain a great length, reaching from the branches of fairly high trees almost or quite to the ground. They are much used in Guatemala for making the so-called mimbre furniture, similar to the light rattan furniture made commonly in the United States. The dried roots, of uniform diameter, or sometimes the fresh ones, are wound tightly and evenly about a wooden frame, forming handsome and durable articles of furniture[331 ]. The roots are also used to make strong baskets[331 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the hot, humid, tropical lowlands, though it can also be found at elevations up to 1,500 metres[331 , 335 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 28 - 34°c, but can tolerate 18 - 38°c[418 ]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -3°c, but young growth can be severely damaged at -1°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,300 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 1,000 - 2,500mm[418 ]. Prefers growing in a shady position[302 ], but can tolerate a wide range from deep shade to fairly open and sunny[418 ]. Although it is often an epiphytic plant, it grows very well in the earth - often becoming a pest in fact because of their rapid growth and spread[331 ]. It prefers a fertile, moist, but well-drained soil[302 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6, tolerating 5 - 7.5[418 ]. The plant forms two types of aerial roots from the nodes and internodes of the stems - one type grows down to the ground where it roots and is a source of moisture and nutrients, the other type is an anchor root, growing around the stem of the host plant[916 ]. Seedling plants can commence bearing fruit when 6 - 8 years old, plants from cuttings when 3 - 4 years old[335 ]. Plants can flower and produce fruit all year round[335 ]. Flowering Time: Mid Summer. Bloom Color: Cream/Tan. Spacing: 24-36 in. (60-90 cm).

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - must not be allowed to dry out[200 ]. Air layering. Internodal cuttings. Cuttings made from growing tips with one leaf attached.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Ceriman, Windowleaf, Split-leaf Philodendron, Mexican Breadfruit, Balaco, Balazos, Banana de macaco, Costila de Adan, Cut leafed Philodendron, Fensterblatt, Fruit Salad Plant, Gui bei zhu, Harpon, Mexican breadfruit, Monstera, Monsutera derishioosa, Pinanona monstera, Pinanona, Swiss-cheese plant,

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Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Asia, Australia, Brazil, Central America, China, Costa Rica, East Africa, Guatemala*, Hawaii, India, Mexico*, Mozambique, Nauru, North America, Pacific, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Paraguay, Philippines, SE Asia, South Africa, Southern Africa, South America, Sri Lanka, St Helena, Taiwan, Tasmania, USA, West Indies, Zimbabwe

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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