Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres
Proc. Linn. Soc. London 165: 30 (1954).
Marantochloa flexuosa (Benth.) Hutch. (1936).
Origin and geographic distribution
Marantochloa cuspidata is distributed from Senegal to Ghana. It has also been recorded for Cameroun and Uganda.
The leaves are used for packaging and for wrapping food and kola nuts. In Sierra Leone the leaf is folded into a cone to be used as a receptacle for honey collection, and in Ghana it has been used as a collecting device in rubber tapping. In Ghana the leaves are used for thatching.
Production and international trade
In Ghana leaves gathered from the wild are sold in local markets.
Perennial herb up to 2 m tall, with rhizome; stems erect, little branched, generally bearing only 1 or 2 leaves, and with imbricate, bladeless sheaths at the base. Leaves alternate, petiole sheathing at the base, 15–20 cm long including sheath, the uncalloused and calloused parts of the petiole not separated by a joint, apical calloused part 1–1.5 cm long, transition of the petiole into the midvein marked by a beak on the upper surface, but continuous on the under surface; blade triangular-lanceolate to ovate or oblong, asymmetric, up to 40 cm × 26 cm, base rounded, truncate or cuneate, apex acuminate, with the acumen not in line with the midvein, lower surface with hairy midvein. Inflorescence terminal, composed of 1 or more racemes; abaxial bracts 2.5–4 cm long with 1–2 cymules; cymule 2-flowered, with adaxial bract; peduncle as long as bract. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, yellow; pedicel up to 10 mm long; bracteole absent; sepals free, equal, scarious; corolla up to 20 mm long, tubular below, with 3 lobes; staminodes and stamen in 2 cycles, at the base forming a tube fused to the corolla tube, outer cycle consisting of 2 petaloid staminodes, inner cycle consisting of 1 stamen and 2 staminodes, of which 1 hooded with a cushion-like appendage; ovary inferior, hairy, 3-locular. Fruit a globose capsule. Seeds arillate.
Marantochloa comprises c. 15 species, distributed in the more humid parts of tropical Africa. It is closely related to Ataenidia.
Marantochloa cuspidata occurs in the undergrowth of humid forest, often secondary forest, or near rivers in savanna regions.
Genetic resources and breeding
There are no indications that Marantochloa cuspidata is threatened by genetic erosion.
Marantochloa cuspidata is a useful local source of leaves for wrapping and thatching, locally sold in markets. There are no reports of the species being overexploited, but the plant may have potential for cultivation, and research on propagation and management practices may be worthwhile.
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Correct citation of this article:
Brink, M., 2011. Marantochloa cuspidata (Roscoe) Milne-Redh. In: Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). Prota 16: Fibres/Plantes à fibres. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.