Monstera Adansonii: African Blackberry

Monstera adansonii is a closely related to the carrot vines that are commonly used in agriculture and decoration. They get their nickname “Blackberries” because of their bright red colour. They are associated with the east coast, isles of west Africa and India. They make pleasant sweet berry tasting fruit that have a high fruit proportion and low fruit size.

Once they are mature they divide into five to six neat fruits. It is also believed that the stems reach close to the ground and thus, can be appreciated as being higher off the ground. They are an edible plants in many parts of the world but we are talking about the South Asian genus.

Is it edible?

It is clear that eating the fruit does not cause any harm to the body. In fact, the ripening and preparation of the fruit has the tendency to reduce the redness in the skin and in turn improve the taste. Pertamina, a Jakarta Based Quality Control company, has stated that it is possible to eat only one stem per vegetable container of one of its fruit types.

The flesh is raw and covered with skins. It is believed that the appearance of the flesh depends on the quality of the seeds. The seeds contain protein, oil, and carbohydrates and are known as the “super seeds”. It is not an insect that gets eaten by these plants. They are known to be poisonous but again, this is an old cultural custom and should be strictly limited to temporary consumption, according to experts.

Is it poisonous?

The complaint about its toxicity has forced an Indian State to stop its cultivation. Gujarat banned cultivation of the plant in 2009 after several incidents of accident occurred. The Governor has declared that it is an undesirable plant which poses risks to human health. The maximum mortality rate from ingestion is from flesh due to its high salinity content and concentrated amount of toxic contents. Symptoms of poisoning are malnutrition, anemia, ill-health, edema, bleeding and swelling of the abdominal and intestinal organs.

More than 70 years old, the age of the plant has not been officially determined yet. Scientists suggest that it evolved before the release of domesticated crop farmers but at a less desirable and harsh environmental. However, they did not get as mutated as the surrounding species which ended up being propagated and invaded by Indian traditional farming.

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