Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Calathea marantifolia

Standl., J. Wash. Acad. Sci. 17:250.1927

C. allouia (Aubl.) Lindl. sensu Woods. (1942) non Aubl.; C. legume Woods.

Caulescent herb, 1-2 m tall. Blades oblong to oblong-­elliptic, abruptly short-acuminate, obtuse to rounded at base, to 45 cm. long and 25 cm wide, the edges turned upward, the upper surface glabrous, the midrib with a line of hirsute pubescence, the lower surface dull, short-­pilose, the pubescence diminishing but extending onto petiole and sheath, the sheath almost glabrate. Spikes broadly oblong, at apex of leafy stem, solitary; peduncles to 21 cm long; bracts minutely pubescent, very broad, scarcely 1 cm. high, persistent; flowers cream, 4-5 cm long, not opening spontaneously; sepals ca 2.5 cm long, white to yellowish, persisting in fruit. Fruits obovate; seeds 3, slate-gray with white aril. Croat 12222.

Occasional in the forest and rare in clearings. Flowers mostly from June to October; may flower much later in tropical wet forests. The fruits soon mature to adult size and, according to H. Kennedy (pers. comm.), are   dis­persed in about 2 months.

Juvenile plants may be recognized by the soft short­-pilose pubescence on the leaf surfaces. This species has been confused with C. macrosepala K. Schum., which occurs in Veraguas and Los Santos Provinces.

Guatemala to Ecuador. In Panama, known from trop­ical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Bocas del Toro, San Blas, Chiriqui, Coclé, Panama, and Darien and from tropical wet forest in Colón (Rio Guanche).

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Calathea marantifolia inflorescence