Monstera deliciosa

Botanical Name

Monstera deliciosa

Synonyms

No documentations

Family

Araceae

Vernacular Names

English Ceriman, Monstera, Mezican breadfruit, Hurricane plant, Swiss-cheese plant, Split leaf philodendron, Window leaf
Portuguese Banana de brejo, banana do mato, Fruta de Mexico
South American Pinanona, Pina anona, Ceriman de Mexico, Balazo (Mexico); Ojal, Huracan (Venezuela); Hojadello (Colombia); Costilla de Adan (Peru); Harpon, apron comun (Guatemala); Caroal, Liane percee, Liane franche (Guadeloupe); Siguine couleuvre (Martinique); Arum du pays, Arum troud (French Guiana)   [2] [3]

Description

Monstera deliciosa is a member of the Araceae family. It is a fast growing stout herbaceous vine which can reach up to 24 m long. The stems are cylindrical and rough with scars of fallen leaves where though aerial roots are produced. The leave are oval, coriaceous with flattened petiole. The matured leaves measures 90 cm x 80 cm with deeply cut margins to 23 cm strips and perforated on each side of the midrib with oblong holes of various sizes. Inflorescence appears at leaf axil. The spandix is cream to tan, surrounded initially with a waxy white spathe that has a pointed apex. A green compound fruit, 20 – 30 cm x 5 – 8 cm develops from the spandix. [2]

Distribution

The plant it native to southern Mexico, Guatemala and parts of Costa Rica and Panama. It has since been distributed worldwide since 1908 as an ornamental plant. [2]

Plant Use

The plant is basically used as ornamentals. It has been reported that the fully riped fruit can be eaten fresh or pulped and included in beverages. It has a pineapple-like flavour. To avoid any untoward effects it is best to consume the fruit when the rind had loosened from the entire fruit, otherwise only eat the part where the rind is detached. Infusion of the roots and leaves is used as a remedy for arthritis and that of the root alone is a remedy for snake bites. [1] [2]

Toxic Parts

Aerial roots, stems, leaves and unripe fruit. [1]

Toxin

Calcium oxalate needles and unverified proteinaceous toxins. [1] [2] [3]

Risk Management

It is a beautiful leafy ornamental plant; growing it in the house requires some precautionary measures to avoid children from getting harmed by the toxic parts.

Clinical Findings

Irritation of the mouth and throat upon biting the leaves or contact with the sap or less-rip fruit. The sap can also cause severe irritation to the eye. [1]

Management

Prehospital care:

1.     Remove all traces of plant material from areas contaminated with it i.e. mouth, eye and skin, immediately. Rescuers should ensure they are protected from contact with these plant materials.

2.     Exposed areas should be copiously irrigates with water.

3.     If ingested, the mouth should be repeatedly rinsed with cool water or a demulcent.

4.     Provide analgesics if pain is severe.

Emergency Department care

1.     Oral exposure – Asses airway for any signs of compromise. Those without compromised airway can be given cold liquids, crushed ice or ice cream for relief. Keeping or swishing antihistamine liquid like diphenhydramine in the mouth can provide local anaesthetic and antihistaminic effects. Those with evidence of laryngeal oedema can be treated with antihistamines and observed or better admitted until oedema subsides.

2.     Eye exposures – Copious irrigation with water. Rule out corneal involvement by performing slit-lap examination with fluorescein staining.

Skin exposures – Washing with soap and water suffice, and local wound care it there exist any wounds. Some people may develop contact dermatitis.  [3] [4]

References

1.     Nellis DW., Poisonous Plants and Animals of Florida and the Caribbean, Pineapple Press, Sarasota 1997,  pg. 150

2.     Janick J., Paull RE., The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts, CABI Oxfordshire 2008 pg. 77 – 78

3.     Nelson LS., Shih RD., Balick MJ., Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, New York Botanical Gardens, New York, 2007  pg 218 – 219

4.     Oxalate Poisoning. [Cited on 2011 April 20]. Available from: http://misc.medscape.com/pi/android/medscapeapp/html/A817016-business.html