This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, comb-flower). Marantaceae. About a dozen Brazilian plants closely allied to Cala-thea and Maranta, differing from the former in belonging to the 1-seeded section of the family and from the latter in having a shorter corolla-tube and different shaped flowers Sepals 3, free and equal, somewhat parchment-like; corolla-tube short but wide, the lobes 3 and nearly equal and hooded at the apex; staminal tube very short; 2 exterior staminodia petal-like, short, obovate and hooded, with lateral deflexed lobes. The ctenanthes are perennial herbs with basal and cauline leaves that are more or less petiolate, and crowded flowers in terminal spikes or racemes. They are glasshouse plants requiring the treatment of calathea; apparently little known in American collections. The species fall into two groups, those with variegated and those with green leaves Of the former group are C. Kummeriana, Eichl., and C. Oppenheimiana, Schum., the former being 20 in. or less tall and with villous ovary and raceme, the latter robust and 3 ft. or more tall and ovary glabrous.
Of the plain-lvd. kinds, C. Luschnathiana, Eichl. (C. compressa variety Luschnathiana, Schum.), and C. setosa, Eichl., may be found in choice collections; both species grow about 3 ft. high, the former having ovate-acute bracts and the latter long-acuminate brown-villous bracts.