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Maranta arundinacea - L.

Common Name Arrowroot
Family Marantaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist floors of evergreen or deciduous forests, often in clearings where light levels are relatively high[200 ].
Range Northern and western S. America.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Maranta arundinacea Arrowroot


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Maranta arundinacea Arrowroot
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Summary

Maranta arundinacea, or commonly known as Arrowroot, is an erect, perennial, large herb growing about 1.5 m tall with an edible rhizome. The leaves are narrow oval tapering to a point at each end. The flowers are small and white. The rhizome is a source of a high quality starch used in pastries as for thickening sauces and soup. Medicinally, arrowroot is used for urinary infections, smallpox sores, and as antidote for poisons. It is also grown as ground cover.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Maranta arundinacea is an evergreen Perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Maranta indica Tussac Maranta ramosissima Wall. Maranta sylvatica Roscoe ex Sm. Maranta tessellata k

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root
Edible Uses:

Root - raw or cooked. The source of a high quality edible starch, obtained by grinding the root into a fine powder. This highly digestible starch is used in pastries, biscuits etc, and is preferred to flour for thickening soups, sauces and gravies[301 ]. Unlike flour, it does not add a mealy taste[301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antidote  Demulcent  Laxative  Poultice  Urinary

Arrowroot is a soothing demulcent and nutritive food that has traditionally been used in much the same ways as slippery elm (Ulmus rubra)[254 ]. Easily digested, it is of benefit to convalescents and those with weak digestions, helping to relieve acidity, indigestion and colic[254 ]. It is mildly laxative[254 ]. An infusion of the root has traditionally been used to treat urinary infections[254 ]. The root also been used as an antidote for poison[254 ]. The powdered root has been used as an ointment or poultice, especially combined with an antiseptic herb such as myrrh (Commiphora spp.)[254 ]. The powdered root has traditionally been made into a poultice for treating smallpox sores[254 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Adhesive  Cosmetic

Agroforestry Uses: Plants can be grown as groundcover[200 ]. Other Uses The starch obtained from the root is also used as a base for face powders and in certain types of glue[418 ].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Ground Cover

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the moist to wet, lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 23 - 29°c, but can tolerate 17 - 34°c[418 ]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about 5°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 700 - 4,000mm[418 ]. Prefers a fertile, moist soil in a sunny or partially shaded position[302 ]. Succeeds in most fertile, well-drained soils[418 ]. Friable soils are preferred for better tuber development and easy harvesting[418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 5 - 8[418 ]. The rhizomes mature about 300 - 365 days after planting[418 ]. Successive crops are usually grown on the same land for 5 - 6 years[418 ]. Yields may within 5 - 6 years be between 10 - 35 tonnes per hectare of rhizomes, from which 2.5 - 7.5 tonnes of starch can be obtained[418 ]. Bloom Color: White/Near White.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - Division

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Arrowroot, Aloro, Amaranta, Angkrik, Ango, Araratu, Araru, Ararut, Araruttukkilangu, Aroro, Aroro, Arrowroot, Bermuda arrowroot, Berolu, Choc-u, Chok-woo, Chuk shway, Hoangting, Hulakiriya, Khaita alu, Koova, Kuvamavu, Kuvehittu, Kuzu ukon, Larut, Maranta, Misimisi koka'anga, Nginti ali, Palaguntha, Patat sagu, Saakhu, Sagu belanda, Saku, Tavaksha, Tavkil, Tikhor, Tora alu, Ubi garut, Yuquilla, agutiguepe, araruta, araruta do brasil, araruta-comum, araruta-palmeira, arrow, arrow root plant|hulankeeriya, arrowroot, arrowrot, arrurruz, arruruz, chuchute tamalera, citalapattiri, das antilhas ou das índias ocidentais, herbe aux flèches, herbe aux fléches, maranta, obedience plant, pfeilwurz, st. vincent arrow, st. vincent arrowroot, west indian arrow, west indian arrowroot.

Africa, Asia, Australia, Bangladesh, Barbados, Brazil, Cambodia, Caribbean, Central Africa, Central America, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Dominica, East Timor, Ecuador, Fiji, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, North America, Northeastern India, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, Peru, PNG, Philippines, Puerto Rico, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Southern Africa, South America, Sri Lanka, St Vincent, Suriname, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, USA, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Africa, West Indies,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Calathea allouiaSweetcorn Root, Guinea ArrowrootPerennial2.0 10-12 MLMHSNM401
Thaumatococcus danielliiSweet Prayer Plant, KatemfePerennial2.0 10-12 FMHFSNM403

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Author

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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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