Monstera deliciosa is a fruit that should come with an instruction manual. Unripe fruits are chock full of oxalic acid, a substance that is used to bleach wood and clean rust off metal. Those who make the mistake of biting into an unripe monstera experience severe throat and skin irritation. However, when ripe, this monster of a fruit is indeed delicious.
The scientific name literally means “delicious monster,” an apt description given the fruit’s tasty yet dangerous potential. But the genus Monstera actually gets its name from the plant’s abnormal-looking leaves, which are very large with a strange network of holes. For this reason, it’s earned the nickname “Swiss cheese plant.” Its interesting appearance makes members of this genus a popular ornamental plant, though not all species have edible fruit.