Invasive Species Compendium

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Maranta arundinacea
(arrowroot)

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Datasheet

Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 May 2020
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Maranta arundinacea
  • Preferred Common Name
  • arrowroot
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Monocotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Maranta arundinacea is a perennial plant, native to Mexico, Central and South America, that has been introduced and cultivated for its starch-rich root (known as arrowroot), and as an ornamental and medicinal p...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot); habit. Banyumas, Central Java.  January 2009.
TitleHabit
CaptionMaranta arundinacea (arrowroot); habit. Banyumas, Central Java. January 2009.
Copyright©Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146)/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot); habit. Banyumas, Central Java.  January 2009.
HabitMaranta arundinacea (arrowroot); habit. Banyumas, Central Java. January 2009.©Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146)/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot); habit, showing leaves. nr. Kannangad, northern Kerala, India. October 2017.
TitleLeaves
CaptionMaranta arundinacea (arrowroot); habit, showing leaves. nr. Kannangad, northern Kerala, India. October 2017.
Copyright©Vijayanrajapuram/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0
Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot); habit, showing leaves. nr. Kannangad, northern Kerala, India. October 2017.
LeavesMaranta arundinacea (arrowroot); habit, showing leaves. nr. Kannangad, northern Kerala, India. October 2017.©Vijayanrajapuram/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0
Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot); flowers. nr. Kannangad, northern Kerala, India. October 2017.
TitleFlowers
CaptionMaranta arundinacea (arrowroot); flowers. nr. Kannangad, northern Kerala, India. October 2017.
Copyright©Vijayanrajapuram/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0
Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot); flowers. nr. Kannangad, northern Kerala, India. October 2017.
FlowersMaranta arundinacea (arrowroot); flowers. nr. Kannangad, northern Kerala, India. October 2017.©Vijayanrajapuram/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Maranta arundinacea L. (1753)

Preferred Common Name

  • arrowroot

Other Scientific Names

  • Maranta indica Tussac
  • Maranta ramosissima Wall.
  • Maranta silvatica Roscoe
  • Maranta sylvatica Roscoe ex Sm.

International Common Names

  • English: common arrowroot; maranta; St Vincent arrowroot; West Indian arrowroot
  • Spanish: arraruta; arraruz; chuchute tamalera
  • French: arrowroot des antilles; herbe aux flèches; marante arundinacee
  • Chinese: zhu yu

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: agutiguepe; araruta; araruta-comum; araruta-palmeira
  • Cambodia: sakh'u; saku
  • Costa Rica: sagú
  • Cuba: raíz americana; sagú; sagú cimarrón; tulola; yuquilla
  • Dominican Republic: alimento; ararú; arrarú; sagú; yuquilla; zolupa
  • Germany: Gemeine Pfeilwurz
  • Haiti: arrorou; sagou
  • India: desi arroroot; murta; sitalpati
  • Indonesia: angkrik; garut; larut
  • Italy: Maranta
  • Lesser Antilles: ararut; l’envers blanc; l’envers caraibe
  • Malaysia: ararut; berolu; ubi garut
  • Philippines: aroru; aru-aru; sagu
  • Puerto Rico: amaranta; maranta; pitisilén; yuquilla
  • Thailand: sakhu
  • Vietnam: củdong; cur dong; hoafng tinh; hoàng tinh; huỳnh tinh

EPPO code

  • MARAR (Maranta arundinacea)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Maranta arundinacea is a perennial plant, native to Mexico, Central and South America, that has been introduced and cultivated for its starch-rich root (known as arrowroot), and as an ornamental and medicinal plant. It has escaped from cultivation and can be found naturalized in a wide variety of substrates and habitats, ranging from open areas with full sunlight to deep-shaded sites. It can reproduce sexually by seeds and vegetatively by rhizomes and suckers. The pieces of rhizome left in the soil after harvest often pose a weed problem because they re-sprout easily and are difficult to eradicate.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Monocotyledonae
  •                     Order: Zingiberales
  •                         Family: Marantaceae
  •                             Genus: Maranta
  •                                 Species: Maranta arundinacea

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The family Marantaceae comprises 31 genera and 550 species distributed mainly across tropical regions of the world. Species within this family are often robust herbs that may be recognized by their pulvinate, petiolate leaves and paired, often only moderately-sized, and asymmetric but mirror-image flowers (Stevens, 2017). The genus Maranta is exclusively neotropical with about 34 species distributed across Central and South America, but with most of the species concentrated in the Brazilian Atlantic and Amazonian forests and in ‘Brazilian savannas’ or cerrados (Vieira and Souza, 2008).

In the literature, the name arrowroot is also used for various other crops: Queensland arrowroot (Canna indica), Indian arrowroot (Curcuma angustifolia), Brazilian arrowroot or cassava (Manihot esculenta), and East Indian arrowroot (Tacca leontopetaloides).

Description

Top of page Perennial, erect herb, 0.5-1.5 m tall, shallow-rooted, with rhizomes penetrating more deeply into the soil. Rhizomes fleshy, cylindrical, 5-40 x 2-5 cm, white or reddish, covered with overlapping, persistent or deciduous, brownish-white scale leaves. Stem thin, usually much forked towards the apex. Leaves radical and cauline, distichous, petiole terete, sheathing at the base, with a thickened, glabrous to sparsely hairy pulvinus at the apex, in upper leaves petiole often absent; blade ovate-oblong, 10-30 x 3-10 cm, rounded to truncate at base, acute acuminate at top, largest in basal leaves, glabrous or more usually hirsute, green or sometimes variously streaked white or brownish-purple, with prominent midrib and numerous pinnately arranged, fine, closely spaced parallel veins. Inflorescence paniculate, terminal, often branched, each branch subtended by a deciduous bract and ending in a stalked flower pair; peduncle of flower pair thin, up to 4 cm long; pedicel of one flower of the pair 7-15 mm long, the other one 0-3 mm; flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, about 2 cm long, with 3 green, free, persistent, lanceolate sepals 1216(-18) mm long, and a white, 3-lobed, tubular, early caducous corolla; androecium in 2 whorls, attached to the corolla; outer whorl consisting of 2 petaloid staminodes, about 1 cm long; inner whorl about half as long, consisting of 1 fertile stamen, a large fleshy staminode and a smaller hooded staminode; fertile stamen with a 1-celled half anther joined to a petaloid appendage; pistil 1, with a 1-celled, 1-ovuled, inferior ovary, style adnate to corona tube, stigma 3-lobed and enclosed by hooded staminode. Fruit oblongoid, about 7 mm long, berry-like, leathery, brown, glabrous to hairy. Seed 3-sided, scabrous, pinkish, with yellow, 2-lobed, basal aril.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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Maranta arundinacea is native to Mexico, Central America and South America. It has been introduced in the West Indies, tropical Asia and Africa (Broome et al., 2007; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; Govaerts, 2018; GRIIS, 2018; USDA-ARS, 2018). It can be found in cultivation throughout the tropics, but is important only in the West Indies (Bahamas, Antilles, especially Saint Vincent island).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 18 May 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

Equatorial GuineaPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
GabonPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
GuineaPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
MadagascarPresentIntroducedKull et al. (2012)
MauritiusPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
RéunionPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)

Asia

BangladeshPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
CambodiaPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
ChinaPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2018)
-GuangxiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2018)
-HainanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2018)
-YunnanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2018)
IndiaPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
-AssamPresentIntroducedNaturalizedAsha et al. (2015)Cultivated
-BiharPresentIntroducedNaturalizedAsha et al. (2015)Cultivated
-KeralaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedAsha et al. (2015)Cultivated
-Madhya PradeshPresentIntroducedAsha et al. (2015)Cultivated
-MaharashtraPresentIntroducedAsha et al. (2015)Cultivated
-OdishaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedAsha et al. (2015)Cultivated
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedAsha et al. (2015)Cultivated
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroducedNaturalizedAsha et al. (2015)Cultivated
-UttarakhandPresentIntroducedNaturalizedAsha et al. (2015)Cultivated
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedPROSEA (2018)
LaosPresentIntroducedPROSEA (2018)
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedPROSEA (2018)
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
SingaporePresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
TaiwanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2018)
ThailandPresentIntroducedPROSEA (2018)
VietnamPresentIntroducedPROSEA (2018)

North America

Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)Cultivated
BahamasPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
BelizePresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
BermudaPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
Costa RicaPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
CubaPresentIntroducedInvasiveOviedo Prieto and González-Oliva (2015)
DominicaPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)Cultivated
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
El SalvadorPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
GrenadaPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)Cultivated
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)Cultivated
GuatemalaPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
HondurasPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
JamaicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
MartiniquePresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)Cultivated
MexicoPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
MontserratPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)Cultivated
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)Cultivated
NicaraguaPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
PanamaPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)Cultivated
Saint MartinPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)Cultivated
Saint Pierre and MiquelonPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)Cultivated
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)Cultivated
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)St Croix
United StatesPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
-FloridaPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)

Oceania

Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
SamoaPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)
TongaPresentIntroducedGovaerts (2018)

South America

BrazilPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
ColombiaPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
EcuadorPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
French GuianaPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
GuyanaPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
PeruPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
SurinamePresentNativeGovaerts (2018)
VenezuelaPresentNativeGovaerts (2018)

History of Introduction and Spread

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Maranta arundinacea was transported from South America to the West Indies by pre-Columbian populations. Since the 17th century, references to this species appear in letters, journals and archives of French and British colonialists where the species is described as a medicinal plant often used for the native Carib indigenes across the Lesser Antilles (Handler, 1971). In the 1800s, commercial production of arrowroot started in the West Indies and other tropical regions. Currently, M. arundinacea is cultivated and naturalized in countries across the West Indies, Asia and Africa. In the Caribbean region, it has been extensively cultivated, particularly on the island of Saint Vincent which produces about 95% of the world’s commercial supply. Outside the Caribbean, it is also cultivated in Southeast Asia and Africa, but in these regions, arrowroot products are mainly produced and traded locally on a very small scale (FAO, 2007; Asha et al., 2015; Heuzé and Tran, 2017; PROSEA, 2018; PROTA, 2018).

M. arundinacea was introduced to India in 1831 from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, and its cultivation subsequently spread to different parts of India (Peter, 2007).

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of new introduction of M. arundinacea is moderate to high. Currently, there is a renewed interest for the cultivation of arrowroot across tropical areas, mainly because different revisions and studies have shown that the valuable starch extracted from the rhizomes is very easy to digest, has a high fibre content, and potential multiple uses in the food industry (FAO, 2007; Madineni et al., 2012; Heuzé and Tran, 2017; PROSEA, 2018).

Habitat

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Maranta arundinacea can be found growing on moist stream banks, moist hammocks, shaded ditches, irrigation channels, on the soil of moist to wet forests, along roadsides, disturbed sites, thickets and wasteland at low to lower middle elevations (up to ~1000 m). It is common in clearings where light levels are relatively high (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2005; Useful Tropical Plants, 2017; Flora of China, 2018; Flora of North America, 2018; PROSEA, 2018; PROTA, 2018).  

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Irrigation channels Present, no further details Natural
Irrigation channels Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number for Maranta arundinacea is 2n = 18, 48 (Flora of China, 2018).

Reproductive Biology

The flowers of M. arundinacea are bisexual and open early in the morning. This species is described as mostly autogamous by some authors and obligately allogamous according to others. The flower structure is suited to cross-pollination by insects. Fruit development is abundant, with about one fruit per four flowers (Kennedy, 2000; Ley and Claßen-Bockhoff, 2012; Flora of China, 2018; PROSEA, 2018).

Physiology and Phenology

In the wild, M. arundinacea flowers from June to August in China (Flora of China, 2018) and from June to October in Costa Rica (Kennedy, 2003). In North America, it flowers from summer until winter and in Nicaragua it flowers and fruits from May to November (Flora of Nicaragua, 2018).

Longevity

M. arundinacea is a perennial species.

Environmental Requirements

M. arundinacea grows in areas with mean annual temperatures ranging from 17°C to 34°C and mean annual rainfall in the range 700-4000 mm. When dormant, the rhizomes can survive minimum temperatures of about 5°C. It is adapted to grow on many soil types including sandy, loamy, and clay soils with pH in the range of 5.5–6.5, tolerating 5–8. It grows best in sunny or partially shaded areas, but also tolerates shade (Kay and Gooding, 1987; FAO, 2007; Useful Tropical Plants, 2017; PROSEA, 2018).

Growth and Development in Cultivation

After the tip of a rhizome has been planted, a shoot arises in 1-3 weeks. The new plant establishes by forming adventitious roots within 6-7 days. In the next phase more leaves and a stem develop aboveground and more roots and new rhizome material develop underground. Some of the new rhizomes become specialized storage rhizomes, others start suckering, a process which is not well understood. It appears that storage rhizomes are not found throughout the growing season but are initiated only after the plant has reached a certain stage of development. There is some kind of relation with the deciduous growth habit in which the plants die back to the rhizome in the dry season. Under optimum conditions the plant grows continuously, producing suckers and rhizomes; old leaves wither, fleshy rhizomes deteriorate or develop new plants when not harvested.

Flowering starts 3-6 months after planting and flowers open in the evening. A crop matures and can be harvested 8-12 months (depending mainly on environmental factors) after planting. Starch content reaches a maximum in the rhizomes about 12 months after planting, but then they are more fibrous and the starch is more difficult to extract. When storage rhizomes are left in the soil for more than 12 months, the starch is gradually converted into sugar. Arrowroot may be grown as an annual crop or as a perennial with successive cropping over 5-6 years (FAO, 2007).

M. arundinacea grows best under warm humid conditions, preferring temperatures of 25-30°C and requiring an annual average rainfall of 1500-2000 mm or more, but with 1-2 dry months. Arrowroot tolerates up to 50% shading without notable yield reduction, and survives waterlogging and saturated soil conditions but does not produce storage rhizomes under such circumstances. It prefers lowland conditions, but can be cultivated up to 1000 m altitude. Arrowroot can be grown on many soil types but thrives on rich, loose, sandy loams with a pH of 5-8 (e.g. the volcanic soils of Saint Vincent are perfectly suited for arrowroot).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
30 25

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 5
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 17 34

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration<2 monthsnumber of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall7004000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Summer
Uniform

Soil Tolerances

Top of page

Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Rosellinia bunodes Pathogen Other/All Stages not specific N

Notes on Natural Enemies

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In parts of the Caribbean under poor drainage conditions, burning disease caused by Rosellinia bunodes causes losses. In India, leaf blight diseases, caused by Pellicularia filamentosa and Rhizoctonia solani, sometimes infect this crop. The arrowroot leaf roller Calpodes ethlius causes defoliation. In South America, the crop is attacked occasionally by Ascia monuste, Neocurtilla hexedactyla and Scapteriscus vicinus (Kay and Gooding, 1987; FAO, 2007; PROSEA, 2018). 

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

Maranta arundinacea spreads by seeds and vegetatively by rhizomes and suckers. In cultivation it is propagated by rhizome apices known as "bits". The bits are planted 5-7.5 cm deep and about 30 cm apart, preferably at the beginning of the rainy season (Kay and Gooding, 1987; FAO, 2007; PROSEA, 2018).

Intentional Introduction

Maranta arundinacea has been intentionally introduced by humans as an ornamental and medicinal plant and for use of its rhizomes as a food and fibre source (Kay and Gooding, 1987; PROSEA, 2018; USDA-ARS, 2018).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionCultivated for its roots Yes Yes PROSEA, 2018
DisturbanceNaturalized in disturbed sites, roadsides, waste grounds Yes Yes PROSEA, 2018
Escape from confinement or garden escapeEscaped from cultivation --widely naturalized Yes Yes PROSEA, 2018
FoodArrowroot Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2018
ForageAnimal forage Yes Yes PROSEA, 2018
HorticultureCultivated as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2018
Industrial purposesStarch production Yes Yes Erdman and Erdman, 1984
Intentional releaseCultivated for its roots Yes Yes PROSEA, 2018
Internet salesPlants and rhizomes available online Yes Yes ,
Nursery tradeCultivated and commercialized as an ornamental Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2018
Ornamental purposesCultivated as an ornamental. Cultivars with colourful leaves have been developed Yes Yes PROSEA, 2018
People foragingArrowroot – starch Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2018

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesSeeds, rhizomes and suckers Yes Yes PROSEA, 2018
MailPlants and rhizomes available online Yes Yes

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Human health Positive

Environmental Impact

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Maranta arundinacea is currently listed as invasive only in Cuba, where it is also considered to be a transformer species.  However, no further information about impacts or competition strategies is provided for this species on this island (Oviedo and Gonzalez-Oliva, 2015).  M. arundinacea is also regarded as a weed. Pieces of rhizome left in the soil after harvest often pose a weed problem in subsequent crops because they re-sprout easily and are difficult to eradicate (PROSEA, 2018).

It has been suggested that processing arrowroot for starch may also have detrimental environmental effects because it uses large quantities of water. Additionally, the intensive monoculture of arrowroot requires use of pesticides which may contaminate the soil (Simmons & Associates, Inc., 2000; Heuzé and Tran, 2017).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Gregarious
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Maranta arundinacea is cultivated for its starch-storing rhizome. The starch extracted from the rhizomes is easy to digest, and is often used as a thickener in dressings, soups, sauces, candies, cookies and desserts like puddings and ice cream. Processed rhizome pulp is used in the industrial manufacture of paper, cardboard, cushions and wallboards, and the starch is used as the basic ingredient of powders, glues and soap. Rhizomes can also be eaten boiled or roasted. Medicinally, the pulp of fresh rhizomes is used in poultices to heal wounds and ulcers and the starch, mixed with water or milk, is used to relieve stomach aches and diarrhoea. The rhizomes are also a good substitute for maize in broiler rations and the fibrous debris after starch extraction is used as animal fodder and manure. Cultivars with strikingly coloured leaves (e.g. brown-purple and white-green) are popular as ornamentals. Leaves are sometimes used for wrapping and fibre (Erdman and Erdman, 1984; Kay and Gooding, 1987; FAO, 2007; Flora of China, 2018; Flora of North America, 2018; PROSEA, 2018).

M. arundinacea is cultivated in the tropics. It is economically important in the West Indies (especially in Saint Vincent). Other countries, including the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, China, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania also grow arrowroot. In some regions of Southeast Asia, it is cultivated mainly as a home garden crop and arrowroot products are mostly traded locally on a small scale. The species is described as an underutilized tuber crop with great potential to be developed as a carbohydrate source and functional food (FAO, 2007; Asha et al., 2015; Heuzé and Tran, 2017; PROSEA, 2018).

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Amenity

Human food and beverage

  • Flour/starch
  • Root crop

Materials

  • Fibre
  • Gum/resin

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Potted plant

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Maranta amplifolia, M. linearis and M. incrassata also develop starch-storing rhizomes. M. amplifolia is very closely related to M. arundinacea, and is sometimes even united with it. It is a more robust plant with glabrous leaves, sepals 16-20 mm long, obligate allogamous and fruiting very rarely. M. linearis differs from M. arundinacea especially in its linear or very narrowly oblong leaf blades, smaller inflorescences and shorter sepals. M. incrassata is a small plant up to 1 m tall with ovate leaf blades and simple inflorescences.
 

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Strong, M. T., 2005. Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, Washington, USA: Department of Systematic Biology - Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution 52, 415 pp.

Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Strong, M. T., 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies, Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution.1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Asha, K. I., Krishna Radhika, N., Vineetha, B., Asha Devi, A., Sheela, M. N., Sreekumar, J., 2015. Diversity analysis of arrowroot germplasm using ISSR markers. Journal of Root Crops, 41, 17-24.

Broome, R., Sabir, K., Carrington, S., 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. In: Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database , Barbados: University of the West Indies.http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

Erdman, M. D., Erdman, B. A., 1984. Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea), food, feed, fuel and fiber resource. Economic Botany, 38(3), 332-341. doi: 10.1007/BF02859011

FAO, 2007. Crop Ecological Requirements Database (ECOCROP). http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home

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Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2018. Flora of North America North of Mexico. In: Flora of North America North of Mexico St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria.http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=1

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Handler, J. S., 1971. The history of arrowroot and the origin of peasantries in the British West Indies. The Journal of Caribbean History, 2, 46-93.

Heuzé, V., Tran, G., 2017. Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea). In: Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO, https://www.feedipedia.org/node/545

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Kennedy, H., 2000. Diversification in pollination mechanisms in the Marantaceae. In: Monocots: Systematics and Evolution, [ed. by Wilson, K. L., Morrison, D. A.]. 335-44.

Kennedy, H., 2003. Marantaceae. In: Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica, 92 [ed. by Hammel, B. E., Grayum, M. H., Herrera Mora, C. , Zamora Villalobos, N. ]. St Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. 629-65.

Kull, C. A., Tassin, J., Moreau, S., Ramiarantsoa, H. R., Blanc-Pamard, C., Carrière, S. M., 2012. The introduced flora of Madagascar. Biological Invasions, 14(4), 875-888. doi: 10.1007/s10530-011-0124-6

Ley, A. C., Classen-Bockhoff, R., 2012. Floral synorganization and its influence on mechanical isolation and autogamy in Marantaceae. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 168(3), 300-322. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2011.01202.x

Madineni, M. N., Sheema Faiza, Surekha, R. S., Ramasamy Ravi, Manisha Guha, 2012. Morphological, structural, and functional properties of maranta (Maranta arundinacea L) starch. Food Science and Biotechnology, 21(3), 747-752. doi: 10.1007/s10068-012-0097-y

Martin, C. I., 1969. The arrowroot industry in St. Vincent: a case study of a unique root crop industry. [Proceedings of the International Symposium on Tropical Root Crops, held at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, 2-8 April 1967], 2 [ed. by Tai, E. A., Charles, W. B. , Iton, E. F.]. 125-39.

Oviedo Prieto, R., González-Oliva, L., 2015. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2015. (Lista nacional de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2015). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 9(Special Issue No. 2), 1-88. http://repositorio.geotech.cu/jspui/bitstream/1234/1476/4/Lista%20nacional%20de%20plantas%20invasoras%20de%20Cuba-2015.pdf

Peter, K. V. , 2007. Underutilized and underexploited horticultural crops, Vol. 1 , [ed. by Peter, K. V. ]. New Delhi, India: New India Publishing Agency.378 pp.

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PROTA, 2018. PROTA4U web database. In: PROTA4U web database Wageningen and Nairobi, Netherlands\Kenya: Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.https://www.prota4u.org/database/

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Raymond, W. D., Squires, J., 1959. Sources of starch in Colonial Territories, II: arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea Linn). Tropical Science, 1, 182-92.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 1893. St. Vincent arrowroot. In: Kew Bulletin,191-204.

Simmons & Associates, Inc., 2000. National biodiversity strategy & action plan for St. Vincent & The Grenadines. https://www.cbd.int/doc/world/vc/vc-nbsap-01-en.pdf

Stevens, P. F., 2017. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 14. In: Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 14 . St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden.http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/

USDA-ARS, 2018. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. In: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory.https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx

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Distribution References

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong M T, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. 1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Asha KI, Krishna Radhika N, Vineetha B, Asha Devi A, Sheela MN, Sreekumar J, 2015. Diversity analysis of arrowroot germplasm using ISSR markers. Journal of Root Crops. 17-24.

Broome R, Sabir K, Carrington S, 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. In: Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. Barbados: University of the West Indies. http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2018. Flora of China. In: Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Govaerts R, 2018. World checklist of Marantaceae. London, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/

GRIIS, 2018. Global Register of Introduced and Invasive Species., http://www.griis.org/

Kull C A, Tassin J, Moreau S, Ramiarantsoa H R, Blanc-Pamard C, Carrière S M, 2012. The introduced flora of Madagascar. Biological Invasions. 14 (4), 875-888. DOI:10.1007/s10530-011-0124-6

Oviedo Prieto R, González-Oliva L, 2015. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2015. (Lista nacional de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2015). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba. 9 (Special Issue No. 2), 1-88. http://repositorio.geotech.cu/jspui/bitstream/1234/1476/4/Lista%20nacional%20de%20plantas%20invasoras%20de%20Cuba-2015.pdf

PROSEA, 2018. Plant Resources of South-East Asia., Bogor, Indonesia: PROSEA Foundation. http://proseanet.org/prosea/e-prosea.php

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10/06/18 Updated by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA.

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