Marantochloa cuspidata (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
List of species

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Marantochloa cuspidata (Roscoe) Milne-Redh.

Protologue: Proc. Linn. Soc. London 165: 30 (1954).
Family: Marantaceae


  • 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

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.

Major references

  • Burkill, H.M., 1997. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 4, Families M–R. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 969 pp.
  • Dhetchuvi, M.M., 1996. The genus Marantochloa (Marantaceae) in Africa. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique 65(3–4): 369–398.
  • Hawthorne, W. & Jongkind, C., 2006. Woody plants of western African forests: a guide to the forest trees, shrubs and lianes from Senegal to Ghana. Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom. 1023 pp.
  • Hepper, F.N., 1968. Marantaceae. In: Hepper, F.N. (Editor). Flora of West Tropical Africa. Volume 3, part 1. 2nd Edition. Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations, London, United Kingdom. pp. 79–89.
  • Koechlin, J., 1965. Marantaceae. Flore du Cameroun. Volume 4. Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. pp. 99–157.

Other references

  • Andersson, L. & Chase, M.W., 2001. Phylogeny and classification of Marantaceae. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 135(3): 275–287.
  • Owusu-Yeboah, P., 1993. Socio-economic study of Marantaceae leaf gathering in Asuboi – case study. B.Sc. Natural Resource Management degree thesis, Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. 76 pp.
  • Pischtschan, E., Ley, A.C. & Claβen-Bockhoff, R., 2010. Ontogenetic and phylogenetic diversification of the hooded staminode in Marantaceae. Taxon 59(4): 1111–1125.
  • Prince, L.M. & Kress, J., 2006a. Phylogenetic relationships and classification in Marantaceae: insights from plastid DNA sequence data. Taxon 55(2): 281–296.
  • Thomas, J., 1959. Notes d’ethnobotanique africaine : plantes utilisées dans la région de la Lobaye (Afrique Centrale). Journal d’Agriculture Tropicale et de Botanique Appliquée 6(8–9): 353–390.
  • Tomlinson, P.B., 1961. Morphological and anatomical characteristics of the Marantaceae. Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Botany 58(370): 55–78.


  • M. Brink, PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Brink, M., 2011. Marantochloa cuspidata (Roscoe) Milne-Redh. [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Brink, M. & Achigan-Dako, E.G. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. <>.

Accessed 1 March 2020.