Monstera obliqua vs. adansonii: Unraveling the Differences

Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii are two popular plants that have been causing quite a stir in the plant-loving community.

With their beautiful foliage and unique characteristics, it’s no wonder that plant enthusiasts are eager to get their hands on these specimens.

However, there is often confusion between the two species, as they share some similarities in appearance.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the seven critical differences that distinguish Monstera obliqua from Monstera adansonii, shedding light on their distinct features, growth patterns, and price variations.

1. Introduction

Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii have captured the hearts of plant enthusiasts worldwide. Their lush foliage and distinctive leaf patterns make them highly sought after.

However, due to their similar appearance, it can be challenging to tell them apart. In this guide, we will explore the seven critical differences that set Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii apart.

By understanding these distinctions, you’ll be able to identify which species you have and appreciate the unique qualities of each plant.

2. Inflorescence: A Key Differentiating Factor

The inflorescence, or the flower structure, of Monstera plants can reveal important differences between Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii.

The inflorescence of a Monstera consists of a spathe, which resembles a hood, and a spadix, a cone-like structure in the center. The flowers themselves are tiny and appear on the spadix.

When comparing the inflorescence of Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii, one notable distinction is the number of flowers on the spadix.

Mick Mittermeier, a renowned plant expert, explains in an Instagram post that Monstera obliqua generally has substantially fewer flowers on its spadix compared to Monstera adansonii.

This difference can be visually observed and serves as a reliable distinguishing feature between the two species.

While inflorescence can be an essential characteristic for identification, it is worth noting that these plants rarely bloom indoors. Therefore, it is crucial to consider other factors to differentiate Monstera obliqua from Monstera adansonii.

3. Thickness of the Leaves: A Tactile Distinction

The thickness of the leaves is another distinguishing factor between Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii. Monstera obliqua exhibits noticeably thinner leaves compared to Monstera adansonii.

In fact, the leaves of Monstera obliqua are almost papery thin to the touch. This tactile difference can be a helpful indicator when trying to identify these plants.

By running your fingers along the leaves, you can assess their thickness. Monstera obliqua will have delicate, thin leaves, while Monstera adansonii leaves will feel slightly thicker and sturdier.

Remember to handle the plants with care, as both species are delicate and can be sensitive to touch.

4. Shape of Holes on the Leaves: Aesthetic Variations

One noticeable aesthetic difference between Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii lies in the shape of the holes on their leaves.

Monstera adansonii typically has slightly narrower holes, giving the leaves a more elongated appearance. On the other hand, Monstera obliqua has rounder holes, contributing to a more symmetrical and compact look.

To examine the shape of the holes, take a close look at the leaves of your plant. Monstera adansonii will showcase elongated, narrow holes, while Monstera obliqua will exhibit rounder, more evenly distributed holes.

This distinction in hole shape adds to the overall visual appeal of each species.

5. Stolons: The Runners That Set Them Apart

Stolons, also known as runners, are an important characteristic that differentiates Monstera obliqua from Monstera adansonii.

Stolons are long stems that grow horizontally, producing roots and new plants at the nodes. While Monstera obliqua readily forms stolons, Monstera adansonii does not exhibit this behavior.

Observe the base of your plant for the presence of stolons. If you notice leafless stems extending along the forest floor or climbing up nearby objects, it is likely that you have a Monstera obliqua.

Conversely, if your plant lacks stolons and grows in a more compact manner, it is likely a Monstera adansonii.

6. Size and Edges of the Leaves: A Visual Contrast

The size and edges of the leaves provide another visual contrast between Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii.

Monstera obliqua typically has smaller leaves with slightly wavy edges, adding an elegant touch to its overall appearance.

In contrast, Monstera adansonii boasts larger leaves with straighter edges, creating a bolder and more robust look.

To assess the size and edges of the leaves, compare the leaves of your plant with reference images or descriptions.

Monstera obliqua leaves tend to be smaller, measuring around 4-10 inches in length, while Monstera adansonii leaves can reach up to 2 feet in length.

Additionally, the wavy edges of Monstera obliqua leaves are distinct from the straighter edges of Monstera adansonii leaves.

7. Rate of Growth: Slow and Steady vs. Rapid Expansion

The rate of growth is another crucial aspect that helps differentiate Monstera obliqua from Monstera adansonii. Monstera obliqua is known for its slow and steady growth, both in indoor and outdoor settings.

Even in optimal conditions, such as tropical climates with high humidity, Monstera obliqua takes several years to climb just a few feet.

In contrast, Monstera adansonii exhibits rapid growth, making it a more dynamic and visually rewarding plant to cultivate.

It is not uncommon for Monstera adansonii to grow a couple of feet in a month, given the right conditions.

This stark contrast in growth rate allows plant enthusiasts to discern between the two species based on the pace of their development.

8. Price: The Cost of Rarity

Price is often an important factor when distinguishing Monstera obliqua from Monstera adansonii. Monstera obliqua is an extremely rare plant, making it significantly more expensive than Monstera adansonii.

Due to its scarcity and high demand, prices for Monstera obliqua can range from several hundred to thousands of dollars.

In contrast, Monstera adansonii is more readily available and generally more affordable.

If the price of the plant you purchased seems too good to be true, it is likely that you have a Monstera adansonii rather than a rare Monstera obliqua.

It is essential to be cautious when purchasing plants labeled as Monstera obliqua, as there is often mislabeling in the market.

9. More Interesting Facts: The Myth and Rarity of Monstera obliqua

Monstera obliqua is not only rare, but it also carries a certain mystique within the plant community. Here are some intriguing facts that highlight the rarity and fascination surrounding Monstera obliqua:

  • Throughout history, Monstera obliqua has been observed in the wild only 17 times, according to Muggle Plants.
  • Bruce Mcalpin and Palm Hammocks are two private collectors known to have mass-produced Monstera obliqua, but they are no longer selling them.
  • The Peruvian form of Monstera obliqua is the only known variety found in the United States.
  • There is a myth that Monstera obliqua has “90% holes and 10% leaf,” although this applies primarily to mature Peruvian forms.
  • Authentic Monstera obliqua plants are rarely found in nurseries and are mainly exchanged among private collectors at high prices.

The rarity and allure of Monstera obliqua contribute to its desirability among plant enthusiasts, but it is essential to exercise caution when acquiring these plants to ensure authenticity and ethical sourcing.

10. Conclusion

In conclusion, Monstera obliqua and Monstera adansonii are two captivating plant species that share some similarities in appearance but can be distinguished by several critical factors.

By examining the inflorescence, thickness of the leaves, shape of holes, presence of stolons, size and edges of the leaves, rate of growth, and price, plant enthusiasts can identify which species they own and appreciate the unique qualities of each plant.

Remember, Monstera obliqua is exceptionally rare and comes with a hefty price tag, while Monstera adansonii is more readily available and offers rapid growth. By understanding these differences, you can cultivate and care for these plants with confidence, adding a touch of tropical elegance to your indoor garden.

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