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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 10/29/2012)

Flora Data (Last Modified On 10/29/2012)
Description Rhizomatous perennial herbs, caulescent or acaulescent, frequently massive; leaves radical or cauline, usually 2-ranked, differentiated into a blade, petiole, and sheath, the petiole hardened and callous at least in part; inflorescence terminating the stem, or scapose and arising directly from the rhizome, spiciform or paniculate, infrequently diffusely cymose, the bracts deciduous or persistent, frequently fairly large and colored and imparting a cone-like aspect to the inflorescence; flowers perfect, very asymmetric, epigynous; sepals 3, free, essentially equal; corolla 3-parted, the lobes connate toward the base, unequal; fertile stamen 1, petaloid, bearing a marginal anther; staminodia 1-5, more or less petaloid, one usually forming a hood about the style; ovary inferior, 3- to 1-celled, sometimes 2 of the cells sterile; fruit a loculicidal capsule, rarely fleshy and indehiscent; seeds provided with a more or less conspicuous aril.
Note The Marantaceae form a conspicuous element of the herbaceous flora of Panama, particularly in low thickets and marshes. In these places large stands of such species as Calathea lutea, with their large broad leaves standing nearly up- right and the waxy lower surface directed outward, create a very striking effect. The leaves of several species are used as wrapping paper, frequently for articles of food, as tamales and cakes of native sugar, carpladurra. The tuberous rhizomes of Maranta arundinacea, known as Sagui, yield arrowroot laundry starch. The Marantaceae have not been spared the general taxonomic neglect accorded the Scitaminales as a whole. In the case of this family, however, confusion does not exist as much in specific as in generic distinctions. Schumann's account of the family for Engler's 'Pflanzenreich' has followed Eichler in a number of very difficult generic segregations, which, in the absence of a contemporary authority, have been ignored in this treatment for the 'Flora of Panama' (cf. Woodson & Schery, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 29:331-335. 1942).
Key a. Ovary 3-celled; fruit 3-seeded - 1. CALATHEA aa. Ovary 1-celled; fruit 1-seeded. b. Bracts persistent; rachis closely articulated but scarcely zig-zag. c. Bracts not closely imbricated at anthesis; corolla tube veryshort; outer staminodia 2, creamy white --- 2. MYROSMA cc. Bracts closely imbricated at anthesis; corolla tube narrow and elongate; outer staminodium 1, white or purple -3. ISCHNOSIPHON bb. Bracts caducous. c. Inflorescence lax and relatively few-flowered, the rachis rather distantly flexuose; bracts green; outer staminodia 2, white, very conspicuous and labelliform; fruits nut-like, indehiscent - 4. MARANTA cc. Inflorescence congested and very many-flowered, the rachis closely and sharply zig-zag. d. Bracts orange or yellow; outer staminodia 2, white or yellowish, subequal; fruits capsular, dehiscent -5. STROMANTHE dd. Bracts green; outer staminodium 1, purple; fruits nut-like, indehiscent ---6. THALIA
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