Maranta

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Maranta

 

a genus of plants of the family Maranthaceae. They are perennial grasses with tuberous rhizomes. The leaves are radical or cauline (in two rows). The flowers are three-parted and asymmetrical and grow in apical spicate inflorescences. The fruit is a monospermous capsule. There are approximately 25 species in tropical America. Some species are cultivated for their starch. The most important species is Indian arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) the rhizomes of which are made into flour that is used in dietetic foods. (The flour is known as Indian arrowroot or East Indian arrowroot.) Several species of Maranta, including M. bicolor and M. leuconeura, have colorful leaves and are ornamentals; they are raised in greenhouses or as house plants.

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