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Ceriman is an edible fruit

September 13, 2011

Many offices in the west have benjamin figs (Ficus benjamina, Moraceae) and monstera (Monstera deliciosa, Araceae) in a dry dark corner. Here in Thailand you can grow them in your garden where they thrive much better. The Thais consider Monstera‘s fruit posionous, but it is an appreciated edible fruit in its homeland Mexico, where the fruit is called ceriman. In nature it grows in dark forests where it climbs the trees and up in the sunny canopies it will make fruits. That is not convenient for a commercial plantation, so you can in fact grow it flat on the ground, and when reaching the sun it will quickly form fruits. Monstera deliciosa is quite expensive and quite a rare collector’s item here in Thailand, but for anyone who has seen it suffer in its cage in a European office, seeing it grow freely is a joy.

The flower cluster in the Arum family is called spadix. It has a typical spathe, a leaf (bract) which helps attracting pollinating insects. The spadix will develop into a fruit (or more exactly an aggregate of fruits like in pineapple) after about 12 months. It can only be consumed when the hexagonal scales of the rind separate from the flesh. This is due to the presence of sharp oxalate crystals (raphids). The flavour is like pineppale and banana, and it can be served with whipped cream or simply cut into wheel-like disks which you eat raw.

Read about the harvest of the fruit of this spadix – 14 months later!

This is how most of us recognize Monstera – a large leaf with many holes. The flowers are only rarely seen in indoor cultivation. It was introduced to England already in 1752.

What is going on at Dokmai garden: Yesterday we celebrated the 500th blog, and we also had the largest numbers of readers in a day ever: 295! Yesterday evening and night we received 61 mm rain, which makes a total of 182 mm in September alone. The quarry is full which is good so that we can endure the upcoming dry season, but people uphill must have changed their drainage, because for the first time in five years there was a meandering stream inside the southwestern part of Dokmai Garden. Luckily we have city-quality drainage tunnels and we redirected the stream by some digging.

Text & Photo: Eric Danell

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