Calathea allouia (Marantaceae)
English: sweet corn root, guinea arrow root
Spanish: leren, dale dale, agua bendita, cocurito, sewi, lairen, yairen, topi-tambu
Portuguese: ariá, láirem
French: alléluia, touple nambours
Origin and Distribution
Native to central and northern Amazon and the Antilles. Cultivated on a small scale in the American tropics.
Densely clumping herbaceous plant to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall. Elongated leaves are 8-24 inches (20-60 cm) long and 2-8 inches (5-20 cm) wide. Rhizomes with fibrous roots which produce edible tubers 0.5-2 inches (1-5 cm) long and 0.2-1.2 inches (0.5-3 cm) wide. Whitish tubers have a thin brown skin and crunchy texture similar to a water chestnut. White flowers are produced in a terminal inflorescence 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) long.
Propagation and Culture
Propagated by division. Grows best in a fertile, well drained soil with adequate moisture, but tolerates acid soils of low fertility. Grows well in shade, but will also grow in full sun if adequate moisture is available. Tubers are harvested 8-12 months after planting.
The tubers are eaten cooked and in salads. The taste is similar to sweet corn, and the crunchy texture is conserved even after cooking. The young inflorescences are also consumed as a vegetable. Flour made from the dried tubers contains 13-15% starch and 6.6% protein.
Nutritional composition per 100 g sweet corn root tubers
The leaves are used to wrap tamales and other foods. The leaves are also used medicinally as a diuretic and in the treatment of cystitis.
Montoso Gardens, Hwy
120 Km 18.9, Box 692, Maricao, Puerto Rico 00606 USA
Copyright ©2007 Montoso Gardens. All rights reserved.