Madeira Fruit: Monstera Deliciosa – Delicious Monster

Madeira Fruit: Monstera Deliciosa – Delicious Monster

Monstera Deliciosa – Delicious Monster

Monstera Deliciosa Madeira Island Portugal
Monstera Deliciosa on Madeira Portugal

Monstera Deliciosa belongs to the monstera plants family which grows all over the world where it’s warm and humid enough.  They are however native to tropical forests of Mexico and Central America.  The Latin term of Monstera or monstrous / abnormal refers to the plants unusually large leaves with natural holes.  To be more precise, the monstera genus is an evergreen vine.  It can grow up to 20 meters in height climbing on trees.  The vine has both aerial roots and roots growing in the earth.

The Monstera Deliciosa has many different names across the globe.  You may already have heard of some: Swiss cheese plant, fruit salad plant, ceriman, monster fruit, Mexican bread fruit, window leaf or split leaf philodendron.  There are many more.  In Portugal is also known as “Costela de Adão” or Adam’s rib.

Delicious Fruit

Many delicious fruits grown on Madeira. However, the epithet deliciosa refers to the delicious edible fruit.  The fruit grows up to 25cm long and 4cm in diameter.  It looks like an ear of corn covered with green hexagonal scales. As it ripens, the scales will fall off releasing a strong and wonderfully exotic smell.  The fruit is edible only when fully ripe.  An unripe monstera deliciosa fruit contains needle-like crystalline structure which will most definitely irritate mouth and throat.

The Monstera Deliciosa grows happily on Madeira.  You can surely see them being displayed in the Farmer’s Market.  Be careful, however, most fruit stalls are a rip off.  So, do enjoy the atmosphere, take pictures, walk around but do not sample or buy fruit there.  There are many fruit vendors in Funchal with normal prices.

The taste of their fruit is compared to that of a banana and the consistency likened to a pineapple. Other flavors such as jackfruit, strawberry, mango and coconut may come to mind when sampling this delicious fruit. The center of the fruit is hard, like corn on a cob and not to be eaten.

When To Pick The Fruit

Monstera Deliciosa grown in Madeira Ponta Delgada 
Source: Don Amaro
Grown on Madeira

When the fruit is mature enough to be harvested, you will notice that where the fruit is attached to plant, the bottom-most scales yellowed. The fruit may also bend slightly.  It will snap of the plant easily. As it ripens, the starch stored in the green fruit is converted to sugar, giving it its sweet flavor. This mechanism is comparable to how banana fruits or chestnuts ripen. 

But beware, the fruit is not ready for consumption yet.  To accelerate the ripening process, wrap the fruit or put it in a paper bag.  Every day, a centimeter or two of scales will fall off. You can also remove the scales with the fingers.  If the scale resists, leave it in place.  Under the scales, the pale flesh of the fruit is apparent. Take a fork and remove the delicious pulp.

Tip:  The black irritant fibres can be swept off by applying a little citrus juice

A lot of patience is required but the wait is definitely worth it.  It takes about one year for the fruit to mature and ripen.


All parts of the plant are poisonous except the ripe fruit.  The abundant poison in the green fruit and plant is oxalic acid. To put things in perspective, oxalic acid is used to remove rust from steel.

Furthermore, the latex of the leaves and vines can cause skin rashes.  This is especially true if you have wounded skin.  More information

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