Calathea juncea Spreng.
Hymenocharis arouma (Aubl.) Kuntze
Maranta arouma Aubl.
Maranta juncea Lam.
Ischnosiphon arouma is a herbaceous perennial plant forming a clump of growth 1.2 - 3 metres tall from an underground rhizome[
The plant is much used in traditional basketry in many of the areas in which it grows, being commonly harvested from the wild. It is also used locally as a source of an edible starch and as a medicine.
S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas; C. America - Panama; Caribbean - Trinidad, Leeward Islands.
An understorey herbaceous plant in forests[
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The rhizome contains an edible starch[
The juice of the leaves and stem is caustic and vesicant[
The long stems are used in basketry and weaving[
]. The hard epidermis of the stems is split into 8 - 12 lengths, which are woven into various types of baskets[
]. The stems are spread out to dry in the sun for several days before being used. Without this process, during which they acquire an agreeable red russet colour, the stems would soon become brittle and unworkable. Some of them are subsequently steeped for a couple more days in 'mudholes' by the riverbank, where they take on a fine shiny black. The blackened stems are, however, less strong than those not so treated. Before use, each stem is split in four or six strands which are then drawn between a knife blade and the finger until the pith is removed and they have been made fine enough for the work in view. If white strands are wanted, as for the linings of Carib panniers, they may be obtained by scraping the outer surface of red strands, or merely by laying these inner side uppermost[
An oil from the seed is used as a hair cosmetic[
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