Maranta - Prayer Plants

Bartolomeo Maranta an Italian physician and botanist, first discovered these curious plants that are native to tropical rain forests. These are flowering herbaceous perennials with evergreen leaves that have unique markings, shapes and colors. In the Amazon basin some can grow to be 3ft or larger. (Maranta Arundinacea) also known as arrowroot is grown commercially for its starch. It is used industrially in food  and cosmetic production among other uses.

Prayer plants are fascinating... throughout the day because of changes in temperature, humidity or light intensity they open and close. This process is called nyctinasty and it is the pulvinus at the base of the leaf that allows this to happen.