Monstera deliciosa Liebm. Araceae. Ceriman.
American tropics. This fine plant has been somewhat cultivated in England for its fruit and may now be seen in greenhouses in this country. The leaves are broad, perforated and dark, shining green. The fruit consists of the spadix, the eatable portion of which is of fine texture and very rich, juicy and fragrant, with a flavor somewhat like that of the pineapple and banana combined. The fruit is filled with a sort of spicule, which, unless the fruit be thoroughly ripe, interferes with the pleasure of its eating. In 1874, specimens of the fruit were exhibited before the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and again in 1881. Dobrizhoffer, in his Account of the Abipones of Paraguay, 1784, refers to a fruit called guembe which is "the more remarkable for its being so little known, even by many who have grown old in Paraguay, for the northern woods of that country only are its native soil. It is about a span long, almost cylindrical in shape, being thicker than a man's fist in the middle but smaller at both extremities, and resembles a pigeon stripped of its feathers, sometimes weighing as much as two pounds. It is entirely covered with a soft, yellowish skin, marked with little knobs and a dark spot in the middle. Its liquid pulp has a very sweet taste but is full of tender thorns, perceivable by the palate only, not by the eye, on which account it must be slowly chewed but quickly swallowed. . . . The stalk which occupies the middle, has something of wood in it and must be thrown away. You cannot imagine how agreeable and wholesome this fruit is. This ponderous fruit grows on a flexible shrub resembling a rope, which entwines itself around high trees." If this description applies to our species, it is certainly remarkable that this ancient missionary did not refer to the open spaces in the leaves.