ENGLISH NAME : Arrow root
BOTANIC NAME : Maranta arundinacea
HABIT: Cultivated for edible root (Rhizome).
PLANT :Perennial, erect herb, 0.5- 1 m tall
LEAF :Leaves radical and cauline, distichous, petiole terete, sheathing at the base, petiole often absent in upper leaves.
Leaf blade green in colour, 10-30 x 3-10 cm, ovate-oblong, rounded to truncate at base, acute acuminate at top, with prominent midrib and numerous pinnately arranged, fine, closely spaced parallel veins.
FLOWER : Inflorescence paniculate, terminal, often branched, each branch subtended by a deciduous bract and ending in a stalked flower; peduncle of flower is thin, up to 4 cm long, flowers bisexual, about 2 cm long, with 3 green, free, persistent, lanceolate sepals, and a white, 3-lobed, tubular corolla.
PROPAGATION : Narrow tip of the rhizome is usually used for propagation.(ie, the portion of rhizome left after taking fleshy part)
FOOD VALUE:Boiled rhizome is a delicious food.Maranta powder (Arrow root powder) is the starch obtained from rhizome. This high quality starch can be used as a thickener for sauces and gravies and also used for making biscuts.
( Since the Arrowroot powder is very expensive biscut companies are now using other types of starches for making "Arrowroot biscuts".)
Arrowroot is also used for making delicious food, "Koova puzhungiyathu" and "Koova thoran" are delicious food items made in North Kerala.
Folkloric: Arrowroot powder is valuable as an easily digested, nourishing diet, It is used as medicine for bowel complaints, dysentery, diarrhea, dyspepsia, bronchitis, cough and general weakness.
It is an ideal food for infants.
Vella koova, Blathi koova (Malayalam,
West Indian arrowroot, maranta, Obedience plant, (English),
Aruruttuk kilangu, Kuvamavu (Tamil),
Method of Extraction of Starch:
The starch is extracted from rhizomes not more than a year old.
The rhizome is cleaned after removing scales and thoroughly washed for removing soil particles,then pulped it in wooded mortars or grinded well.
The pulp stirred in clean water, fitered, allowe to settle in bottom, and then drained.Wash the starch with fresh water and repeat the process twice.
Finelly clear, odourless, white starch obtained is dried on sheets in the sun.
The maximum available starch from rhizome is about one-fifth of the original weight.
Rhizome of Curcuma angustifolia (Zingiberaceae family)(Kattu koova) is also used for extracting starch.
But for getting clear starch, the pulp obtained from Curcuma angustifolia rhizomes shold be repeatedly washed for ten times before drying.