The Swiss Cheese Plant, or Monstera deliciosa, has deeply indented, shiny leaves, which may reach 50 cm or more in length when mature. The lobes are perforated with large holes, hence the nickname “Swiss Cheese Plant” and are either deep green or variegated with patches of cream and white depending on variety. Young plants have entire leaves without perforations.
The holes and incisions in the leaves allow strong winds to pas through the foliage, without risking too much damage – an ideal adaptation to its natural habitat in the hurricane belt of Central America (and the reason for one of its common names: the Hurricane Plant).
Monstera deliciosa will climb vigorously up a supporting moss pole with the aerial roots providing anchorage. Those aerial roots also act like miniature sponges and are able to absorb a small amount of water from mist. During the 19th Century, Monstera deliciosa was grown for both its ornamental foliage and its fruit.
Under glasshouse conditions the arum-like flowers develop into white, banana-shaped fruits called cerimans, which taste like a cross between pineapples and bananas. These are very rarely produced indoors, but if they are, beware that some people can be sensitive to the tiny irritating spiny hairs on the fruit.