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.
Habit tufted, 2-3 ft. high: growths with 2-5 leaves; blade elliptic, only slightly oblique, glabrous, acute margins plain or slightly undulate, 6-12 in. long, upper side light pea-green, feathered along the midrib with white, changing with age to a soft greenish white; under side light green tinted with pale purple-red; petiole 1/2 - 2 1/2 ft. long, slender, erect, green, covered with soft minute brown hairs; sheath extending from one-third to one-half the length of the petiole, upper part terete: infloresence an erect spike, elliptic in outline, on a leafy peduncle 4-12 in. long; bracts creamy white, reniform, obtuse or acute, bracteoles numerous, white, scarious; flowers in pairs; sepals linear, cream, half the length of the tube, tube 3/4in. long; petals lanceolate, reflexed; lip elliptic, with bright yellow disk reflexed with scarious margins; column white or cream, linear curved towards the Up.
Habit dense and tufted, 1-2 1/2 ft. high: growths with 1-3 leaves, usually 2; blade oblique, elliptic or elliptic-ovate, 3-9 in. long, acute, upper side glabrous, rich dark green, marbled with silvery white along the midrib and an irregular undulating line of the same color running the complete circle of the blade, the intervening tissue in some cases will be also entirely composed of this silvery white colored tissue and the green part reduced to a marginal ring 1/2in. diam.; these two strikingly distinct forms of leaves will often be found on a single plant in adjoining growths; in this case it is not that either of them represent the adult stage, as both are of frequent occurrence on the same plant and both produce inflowers; under side, dull purple-red; petiole erect or spreading, dull reddish brown; sheath reaching from one-third to one-half its length, upper part terete or oval: infloresence an erect narrow spike, sometimes sessile but more commonly on a peduncle 3-15 in. high; bracts erect, ovate, green tinted with brown, closely adpressed and forming a narrow cone-like mass some 3-5 in. long, the upper pair of bracts always being enlarged and spreading outwards like 2 small elliptic leaves: flowers in pairs, white; sepals half the length of the tube; tube 3/4in. long; petals elliptic spreading; column curved, white with brown stripe. - A fine stove plant for large or small pots, and on account of its tufted habit is of great use for decoration.
Of very easy cultivation
Habit dwarf, spreading by means of runners: growths bearing from 1-7 leaves 1/2 -2 ft. high; blade obliquely elliptic, acute, undulate, glabrous, 3-9 in. long, upper side soft velvety green, striped along the principal veins with dark olive-green and feathered between the veins with splashes of yellowish green, lower side dull purple-red, midrib brown; petiole 3-15 in. long, softly tomentose in lower part; sheath extending from one-half to nearly the entire length of the petiole: infloresence borne upon long slender leafy stems, which later become swollen and root at the nodes and change to runners, thus forming an easy means of prop: few-fid., bracts green, ovate; flowers in pairs in axil of each bract, pure white, 1/2in. diam.; sepals linear; petals obovate. Brazil. B.H. 25:273.
Habit dense and compact, covered in all parts with soft velvety hairs: growths with 4-10 leaves and 1/2 -3 ft. high; blade elliptic, undulate, acute, 6-15 in. long, upper side rich velvety olive-green, feathered on either side of the midrib, pale yellowish green; under side rich purple-red; petiole 3-18 in. long, dull red; sheath extending nearly the entire length of the petiole, the upper inch or two being terete, and rather brighter in color than the lower part: infloresence a dense cone-like spike, borne on long slender terete stems 1-3 ft. long and bearing 1 or more leaves which change into runners after the flowers are over, becoming fleshy and rooting at the nodes, forming a ready means of propogation; bracts 1-2 in. long, erect, elliptic or ovate, pale primrose tinted with rose or violet; flowers in pairs, 1 in. diam., primrose tinted with violet. Brazil. B.M. 7674. G.C. III. 22:293.
Habit loose and spreading, 1- 2 1/2 ft. high: growths with 2 or 3 leaves; blade elliptic or elliptic-ovate, 6-12 in. long, pendulous or horizontal, upper side pale yellowish green, pinnately striped with rich dark green bars along the principal veins, lower side light green faintly suffused with dull red, the principal veins being more strongly marked with a deeper shade of red; petiole erect, rigid, 6-18 in. long; sheath, extending to half its length, upper part terete, green. Probably Brazil. - Perhaps a true Maranta.
Habit loose and spreading: growths bearing 1-3 leaves, usually 2, and from 1-3 ft. long; blade elliptic or elliptic-ovate, acute, 6-15 in. long, upper surface alternately striped with rich olive-green and light silver tissue, and arranged in the form of a feather, midrib channeled pale yellowish green, under side rich dark wine-red, glabrous above, softly tomentose with brown hairs beneath; petiole spreading, stout, 1-2 ft. long, lower part light green, reddish brown above, beneath extending from one-third to nearly the entire length of the petiole, upper part oval or terete. Cent. Amer. Gt. 686. - One of the finest and most beautiful members of the genus.
Habit erect, densely tufted: growths with 3-7 leaves 1 1/2 - 4 ft. long; blades linear-lanceolate, 6-12 in. long, rich shining green, suffused with purplish red below, undulate, acute; petiole 3/4-23^ ft. long, terete above the sheath; sheath extending from 2-10 in. of the base of the If., dull red heavily spotted with green. Probably Brazil. B.M. 7560. - Densely hairy in all its parts.