South American plant that grows in Trinidad and Tobago

A monstera auropinnata plant flowers.  Photo by Wilma Charles -
A monstera auropinnata plant flowers. Photo by Wilma Charles -


Monstera plants are native to the south and central regions of South America such as Colombia, Panama and Peru. It can also be found in southern Mexico. My research revealed that there are more than 40 species of monstera plants of which the aureopinnata is described as a rare species. These plants thrive in a warm, humid environment which is one of the reasons why they grow well in Trinidad and Tobago. Some produce flowers while some do not. Highly prized for their large, natural leaf holes (technically fenestrations), and distinctive patterning, monsteras have become a favourite with gardeners as well as floral and interior designers. You can be sure to see this plant as the greenery in many interiors. Some of the types that are cherished have names such as Swiss Cheese (for obvious reasons), monstera adansonii, monstera albo, monstera egregia, monstera deliciosa and monstera obliqua, which is said to be one of the rarest varieties.

Monsteras are epiphytes which root in soil but develop aerial roots when given the opportunity to climb onto a tree trunk. Roots also develop along the stem. Given the right conditions, a monstera plant can become a huge tower of greenery.

Monstera aureopinnata is a flowering plant in the genus monstera of the araceae family. (Wikipedia)

Some years ago a friend gave me a cutting from her monstera aureopinnata plant. I used the leaves, threw the cutting under my avocado tree and forgot all about it. To my surprise, some years later I noticed that a vine had developed and had begun to run in the area. Closer examination showed a plant with a smooth edged leaf. Ah ha! I thought. This must be another vine as its leaves were different from the one given to me. To my surprise these leaves morphed into those of the Monstera aureopinnata. As the vine aged and began to run up the trunk of my now old avocado tree, the leaves became massive and clustered to provide much needed shade for the anthurium lilies growing at the bottom of the tree. Happy with that sight, I settled down to enjoying the view on my frequent trips to my backyard, but more surprises were in store for me.

The heavy and constant rainfall experienced here in TT in recent months has encouraged my aureopinnata vine to produce lots of blooms. Thank you Mother Nature. Blooms similar to that of an anthurium lily but much bigger and more majestic appeared on the vine on short stems. One would have expected the stem to be longer for such a sturdy bloom but nature knows best. Off white in colour with a huge pistil and soft leathery feel, this flowering of the aureopinnata was a commanding sight. As the flowers faded they turned purple leaving the thick, rough pistil as the sole reminder of its presence. The pistil itself has its own beauty and I saw possibilities of utilising it in floral arrangements. I am so pleased with that plant. I will share cuttings.


"South American plant that grows in Trinidad and Tobago"

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