Friday, October 21, 2011

My Monstera deliciosa experience, South Florida style

I was first introduced to this plant when I lived in Maroochydore, Australia. Everyone in the neighborhood had a plant, they grew like weeds. And when the fruit was ready, all rejoiced because it took a year to ripen on the plant. The fruit looked like a large, scaly, cucumber.

The scales were actually rigid tiles that fell-off in sections as the fruit ripened. The flesh inside was creamy white and had the texture of bananas. I used a fork to pry the individual sections out. It tasted like a cross between pineapple and banana. It was delicious.

I learned patience when waiting for the tiles to drop. I forced a few off  and ate the sections underneath. They burned my tongue and throat. I later learned they contained potassium oxalate.

When I came to South Florida, I was shocked to find no Monstera deliciosa (fruit salad plant), well at least none in people's backyards. I found plenty at botanic gardens but the caretakers didn't like the idea of my taking a fruit home as a souvenir.

Eventually, I found my way to a rare fruit council meeting where the door prize was a Monstera deliciosa. I won it! I was thrilled but had a dilemma, I lived in an apartment with no backyard. So, my beautiful Monstera had to stay in a pot until I moved into a house. In protest, it grew no more than a few centimeters a year and refused to fruit.

Now, it lives in a large backyard and has leaves taller than me. And it bears many fruit!

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