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Maranta arundinacea

Previously known as:

  • Maranta arundinacea fm sylvestris
  • Maranta arundinacea var indica
  • Maranta indica
  • Maranta minor
  • Maranta ramosissima
  • Maranta sylvatica
Description

Arrowroot (Maranta arundicacea) is a plant of moist areas native in a range from Mexico to Brazil. The common name, Arrowroot, comes from its use as a poultice to remove poison from arrow wounds. Its scientific names are more prosaic. Maranta comes from Bartolomea Maranta a 16th C Italian physician and botanist. Arundinacea refers to the reed or cane like form of the stems. This plant, which has mid-green leaves and white flowers, grows in partial shade near or in the margins of water. It is home to or food for many organisms from butterflies to microscopic ones. The rhizomatous root is a source of starch and in the early 1800s it was commercially grown in Georgia and South Carolina. It is still grown commercially on St Vincent Island in the Caribbean.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Maranta arundinacea 'Variegata'
    White and green leaves
Maranta arundinacea 'Variegata'
Tags:
#water garden#stream banks#moist soil#streams
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Maranta arundinacea 'Variegata'
    White and green leaves
Maranta arundinacea 'Variegata'
Tags:
#water garden#stream banks#moist soil#streams
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Maranta
    Species:
    arundinacea
    Family:
    Marantaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The root of this plant is a source of starch. This starch can be used internally against ingested poison or externally to extract poison from a wound. As it is easily digestible it can be fed to infants, invalids, and those allergic to wheat.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico to Tropical America
    Distribution:
    Continental US; Central America; West Indies; Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Guyana, Peru; parts of Africa near Nigeria; India, Sumatra. The Philippines
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant serves as food for the larval stage of Leguminivora glycinivorella, the Soybean Moth; Rhinthon cubana, the Cuban Skipper; Spodptera litura the moth form of Tobacco Cutworm and Cotton Leafworm; Cynea irma the Fogged Skipper; Calpodes ethlius, the Calpodes Skipper; and Saliana fusta, Suffused Salina. It is also host to a large number of fungi and bacteria.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    asymmetrical petals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers of the arrowroot are up made up a curved tube about half an inch long, ending with two large petals at the bottom and others forming a 'fan' shape across the top. In some ways it resembles a very small penstemon or gloxinia flower with its 'landing pad' for pollinators. The flowers come in pairs at the end of long thin stems about 2 inches long.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Riparian
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden