From the jungle to the living room

The Marantaceae is a plant family found in the subtropics, especially the jungle in Brazil. The plants grow in the wild as bushes, which can easily reach a height of several meters. It is the same family as the banana plant. Among the native population the Marantaceae family is also known for its nutritional value: the roots are edible. The plant's large leaves are suitable for roofing their huts. And naturally, the Marantaceae also have medicinal properties. The family gets its name from an Italian doctor, Maranti, who wrote a standard work about the medicinal properties of flowers and plants in the sixteenth century.

Characteristic of the Marantaceae is its decorative leaf. It is mainly the leaves that determine the attractive value of the plant. The cultivars have very different coloured leaves and vein designs. The colours range from silver, white-pink to various shades of green.

The most important genus of the Marantaceae family is Calathea. There must be dozens of varieties, but many have not yet been discovered in the often impenetrable jungle. In the two branches of Gebr. Valstar, an average of 15 varieties are cultivated. The assortment changes constantly.

The living plant

Calathea has an unusual trait: the leaves close at night when the light decreases. The plant thus has a circadian rhythm, which has given rise to the epithet 'living plant'. The closing of the leaves makes a rustling sound.