(Donax canniformis)



Maranta arundinacea, also known as arrowroot, maranta, West Indian arrowroot, obedience plant, Bermuda arrowroot, araru, araruta, ararao or hulankeeriya, is a large, perennial herb found in rainforest habitats. Arrowroot flour is now produced commercially mostly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Arrowroot was one of the earliest plants to be domesticated for food in northern South America, with evidence of exploitation or cultivation of the plant dating back to 8200 BC. It is widely sold under the guise of Curcuma angustifolia. Arrowroot is a perennial plant growing to a height of between 0.3 m (1 ft) and 1.5 m (5 ft). Its leaves are lanceolate. The edible part of the plant is the rhizome. Twin clusters of small white flowers bloom about 90 days after planting. The plant rarely produces seed and reproduction is typically by planting part of a rhizome with a bud. Rhizomes are ready for harvesting 10–12 months after planting as leaves of the plant begin to wilt and die. The rhizomes are fleshy, cylindrical, and grow from 20 cm (8 in) to 45 cm (18 in) long. The arrowroot plant probably originated in the Amazon rainforest of north-western Brazil and neighboring countries. It grows best between temperatures of 23 °C (73 °F) and 29 °C (84 °F) with annual precipitation between 150 cm (59 in) and 200 cm (79 in). The dormant rhizomes can withstand temperatures as low as 5 °C (41 °F). In the continental United States, arrowroot is cultivated as an outside plant only in southern Florida. Maranta arundinacea is native to Mexico, Central America, the West Indies (Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Lesser Antilles) and South America (Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana, French Guiana). It is widely cultivated in the many warm countries and is considered naturalized in Jamaica, Bahamas, Bermuda, the Netherlands Antilles, India, Sri Lanka, China (Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Yunnan), Taiwan, Volcano Islands, Mauritius, Réunion, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Florida, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The Caribbean island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the world's largest grower of arrowroot and producer of arrowroot flour. In Kerala, India, arrowroot, locally called bilathi koova, is cultivated to produce an easily digestible starch.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
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