Sunday, February 9, 2014

Rabbit's Tracks and Fish Bones

New leaves unfurling.
Maranta leuconeura kerchoviana

There are two popular prayer plants available in the houseplant industry. Maranta leuconeura kerchoviana, pronounced muh-RAN-tuh loo-ko-NYOOR-uh kerr-CHO-vee-ay-nah, and Maranta leuconeura erythroneura (or ethrophylla). The first is called rabbit's tracks or prayer plant. The second is called herringbone plant, fish bone plant, or tricolor maranta. They both are gorgeous. They do flower but compared to the foliage, the small flowers are insignificant. Because their leaves are horizontal during the day and are vertical during the night, they get the common name prayer plant. 
These plants are in the Order Zingiberales and the family Marantaceae. The marantas were named after 16th century Italian physician and botanist Bartolomeo Maranta 1500-1571.

These plants are easy to grow as long as they have medium to bright light (never full sun) and extra humidity. I grow mine on a pebble tray and it is grouped together with other plants which also raises the humidity. 

Rabbit's tracks


Plants in the Marantacae family including calathea, ctenanthe, stromanthe, and maranta, get brown tips from fluoridated water. I live in the metro Detroit area and we definitely have fluoride and chlorine in the water. The chlorine can dissipate when the water is left to sit overnight. Unfortunately that doesn't work for the fluoride, so to avoid the brown tips, use rainwater or distilled water. Low humidity can also cause brown tips.

Maranta leuconeura erythroneura

I love the red stripes on the herring bone variety. I think they are absolutely gorgeous. There is a white veined variety called 'Marisela', but I don't have one. Can you believe it? I better go shopping.....
Herringbone, fishbone, or tricolor maranta

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