Marantaceae

Marantaceae

Maranta was named by Linnaeus after Bartolomeo Maranta (died 1571), an Italian physician and herbalist from Venice. Related to the gingers, the Marantaceae is a family of herbaceous perennials with underground starchy rhizomes; leaves alternate, usually distichous or 2 ranked, often a maroon colour on the lower surface. Inflorescence various, the bisexual, irregularly shaped flowers are usually borne in mirror image pairs. Bracts usually present at the nodes of the main branches; sepals 3, petals 3 fused at base to form a tube together with the fertile stamen and the staminodes. One of these staminodes is hooded over the style, only bending back to reveal the stigma when it is touched. Species of Calathea and Maranta are commonly cultivated.