|Ceriman Quick Facts|
|Scientific Name:||Monstera deliciosa|
|Origin||Southern Mexico, south to Panama|
|Colors||Green turning to white or pale yellow as they matures|
|Shapes||Spadix develops into the compound fruit. The hexagonal scales dry out and separate as the fruit ripens from the base upwards, revealing the white or pale yellow|
|Taste||Sweet, sour, fruity taste similar to jack fruit and pineapple|
|Health benefits||Beneficial for arthritis, snakebite, wounds, bruises, cough, fever or some types of infection.s|
The specific epithet deliciosa means delicious, referring to the edible fruit, while monstera means monstrous, in reference to the size that this plant can grow to over 9 m (30 ft.) in many cases. Few of the popular common names of the plants are 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, Breadfruit-Vine, Delicious Monster, hurricane-plant, Monster Fruit, Locust and Wild Honey, Pine Fruit Tree, fruit salad tree, monsterio delicio, monstereo, balazo, Penglai banana, Cheese Plant and Monstereo.
Ceriman is a robust, fast growing, stout, herbaceous or woody, epiphytic, scrambling or climbing vine that grows about 20 m (66 ft.) tall. Indoor plants more typically are grown in the 6-8 feet range. The plant is found growing in the branches of trees in moist or wet, mountain forests. The plant grows vigorously in almost any soil, including calcareous but flourishes best in well-drained, loamy soils rich in organic matter. It is intolerant of saline conditions. Stem is cylindrical, heavy, 6.0–7.5 cm diameter, thick rough with leaf scars, and producing numerous, long, tough, fibrous aerial roots.
Leaves are large, leathery, glossy, heart-shaped leaves 25–90 cm (10–35.5 in) long and 25–75 cm (10–29.5 in) broad. Young plants have leaves that are smaller and entire with no lobes or holes, but soon produce lobed and fenestrate leaves as they grow. Although it can grow very tall in nature, it only measures between 2 and 3 m (6.6 and 9.8 ft.) when grown indoors. The older the plant, the more the leaves are covered with large perforations which earned the name of “swiss cheese plant” in English.
Flower of Monstera deliciosa is composed of a special bract called a spathe enclosing a spadix and the inflorescence is adorned with a cream-white spathe uniform, velvety appearance, covering, like a hood, a yellowish white spike 10 to 15 cm (3.9 to 5.9 in) high and about 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter. These flowers are bisexual, meaning they contain both androecium and gynoecium. Since they contain both structures, this plant is able to self-pollinate.
The fruit of Monstera deliciosa is up to 25 cm (9.8 in) long and 3–4 cm (1.2–1.6 in) diameter, looking like a green ear of maize covered with hexagonal scales. As the fruit ripens, these scales or platelets fall off the fruit, releasing a strong and sweet scent. The smell has been compared to a combination of pineapples and bananas. The fruit is edible and safe for humans.
It takes longer than a year for fruits to reach maturity. The fruit first shows signs of ripening by its bottommost scales becoming yellowed. As it ripens, the starch that was stored in the green fruit is converted to sugar, giving it its sweet flavor. This mechanism is similar to how banana fruits ripen. The strong odor the fruit produces becomes noticeable when it is half-ripe. As time passes and the fruit continues to ripen, the odor becomes stronger. After it becomes fully ripe, however, the scent deteriorates quickly.
The Ceriman is indigenous to the wet tropical forests of southern Mexico, Guatemala and parts of Costa Rica and Panama. Now it is pan tropical and has naturalized in many areas for instance in Florida and coastal areas of North Coast and Central Coast, also scattered throughout the lower to mid Blue Mountains (Central Coast) of New South Wales in Australia.
Traditional uses and benefits of Ceriman
- Roots of monster fruit (or sometimes the leaves) are used in Mexico to make an infused beverage used to treat arthritis.
- Inhabitants of the Caribbean island of Martinique prepare a cure for venomous snakebites from the roots of the monster fruit.
- Wounds are sealed with a paste made from the mashed leaves of monster fruit in Brazil.
- Chinese believe that various parts of the plant are an effective cure for a number of diseases, like bruises, cough, fever or some types of infection.
- Due to high dose of potassium and vitamin C, a smoothie prepared from monster fruits is quite popular among sportsmen who want to have more stamina and raise their energy levels.
- It also provides a useful mix of nutrients to cancer patients who recover after a period of radiotherapy.
- Fruit can be consumed raw.
- Juicy, sub acid fruits have an excellent aroma and taste, combining the flavors of bananas and pineapples.
- The fruit is eaten raw, made into jellies and jams, and is also used in ice creams, sherbets, soft drinks etc.
- Some people find the fruit unpleasant to eat because it can contain irritating crystals in the pulp.
- Fruiting spadices become whitish at maturity and very juicy. They are sweet and of good flavor 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.
- Elongated fruit is ready to harvest when the tile-like caps (scales) of the fruit-lets at the base start to separate and show creamy color between them.
- When mature, the fruit can be detached, leaving the flower stem.
- Ripe sectioned of the fruit can be recognized by the separation of the scales.
- Unripe section is left in the paper bag until the next portion is ready to eat.
- Alternatively, the whole fruit can be ripened for eating at one time by standing the base in water and keeping it in the dark for a few days.
- Pulp of ripe fruit is eaten fresh, made into jellies and jams.
- It may be served as dessert with a little light cream, or may be added to fruit cups, salads or ice cream.
- To make a preserve, rinsed segments can be stewed for 10 min in water, too which is added sugar or honey and lime juice and the mixture is simmered again for 20 min and then preserved in sterilized jars.
- Pieces of the raw fruit can serve as ingredients in any type of salad, ice cream or fruit mix.
- Aerial roots are used as ropes and in making baskets.
- 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.
- 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.
- Roots are also used to make strong baskets.
- It is especially suited for use as an ornamental on fences and tree stumps.
- The plant is widely cultivated as an ornamental for home and tropical gardens.
- In Mexico, they are fashioned into coarse, strong baskets.
- Locals in Peru and Mexico gather the roots in order to manufacture baskets or ropes.
- It is also a popular ornamental garden plant in Colombia, because of its attractive large leaves and flowers.
- All parts of the plant except the fully ripe fruit are toxic and irritate the mouth and skin.
- People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyper acidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.
- All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction.
- Unripe fruit contains so much oxalic acid that it is poisonous, causing immediate and painful blistering and irritation, swelling, itching, of mucous membranes and loss of voice and may lead to death.
- High doses may cause stomach cramps and diarrhea.