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Montrichardia arborescens

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Montrichardia arborescens, the yautia madera, or moco-moco,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> is a tropical plant grows along river banks, swamps, or creeks to a maximum height of 9'. They consist of arrow shaped leaves that are food sources for animal species.<ref name=(1)/> The plant produces inflorescences which then leave a fruit of Montrichardia arborescens which is edible and can be cooked.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Its fruiting spadices produces large infructescences, which contain about 80 edible yellow fruits.<ref name=(15) />

Distribution

Montrichardia arborescens is most commonly found in South America in areas of the Caribbean and Mesoamerica including Puerto Rico, Panama, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, and more.<ref name=(2) /> Montrichardia arborescens is native to the tropical Americas and the West Indies.<ref name=(9) />

Habitat and ecology

Montrichardia arborescens is a perennial helophytic shrub <ref name=(3) /> that grows most commonly in a bay, mangrove habitat.<ref name=(5) /> They most suitably grow along the banks of rivers, creeks and in swamps.<ref name=(1) /> They also grow in salt water, brackish water, and fresh water.<ref name=(1) /> M. arborescens usually live a short viable life and can not withstand low temperatures.<ref name=(1) /> They grow best with full sun or in partial shade and can withstand most types of soil.<ref name=(1) /> As with many Araceae they basically need lots of water but they do have some drought tolerance.<ref name=(1) /> This species is often cultivated in or besides ponds because they form unusual and impressive stands.<ref name=(11) /> The geophytic tropical Araceae are seldom cultivated in gardens because they require more constant care.<ref name=(11) />

Morphology

illustration of moucou-moucou leaves

The plant usually stems to 3m, and is often swollen at base. It can grow up to 25 cm in diameter and sometimes with short prickles. Leaf stalks can grow up to 30 cm long, and the blades can range 10–30 cm with a distinct triangular outline except for lobes at base.<ref name=(4) /> The spadix of Montrichardia arborescens is cylindrical or ellipsoid that forms at maturity.<ref name=(8) /> Seeds of M. arboresecens usually float to shore and germinate.<ref name=(13) />

Flowers and fruit

illustration of moucou-moucou

Flowers of M. arborescens, consist of a spadix (typical to the family Araceae) which is a type of spike inflorescence having small flowers borne on a fleshy stem. The spadix of contains uni-sexual flowers without a perianth.<ref name=(7) /> The pistillate flowers are located in the base portion of the inflorescence, and the staminate flowers are located in the apical portion.<ref name=(7) /> In the zone between male flowers and female flowers there are also vestigial flowers.<ref name=(8) /> In a study done by M. Weber and H. Halbritter to examine M. arborescens pollen, their findings indicated that there is rapid pollen tube formation.<ref name=(9) /> The ultra structure of the pollen protoplast was characterized by many mitochondria, ER strands, dictyosomes, and microtubules.<ref name=(9) /> It seemed that they need quick germination since the wall is missing and thus a protective coating around the easily damaged pollen protoplast is absent.<ref name=(9) /> Further studies are needed to clarify how the pollen wall and pollen tube are formed.<ref name=(9) /> The representative molecular barcode of Montrichardia arborescens can be found at the Encyclopedia of life page.<ref name=(5) />

Usage

Food

The fruiting spadix of Montrichardia arborescens is edible.<ref name=(12) /> The seeds can be cooked or toasted.<ref name=(12) /> Aroids such as M. arborescens have long been a food staple to many tropical populations across the world.<ref name=(15) /> Aroids can provide high yielding nutritious crops which can be substances for specialist diets.<ref name=(15) />

Medicinal

In Suriname, the milky juice of the stem is used in the treatment of deep external cuts.<ref name=(1) /> Its sap was first determined to be caustic and can cause dermatitis.<ref name=(10) /> It was later found that it can also be used against nose bleeds, sore eyes, and the sap can also be applied to ulcers in a poultice.<ref name=(10) /> Dried roots and leaves can also be taken to relieve hypertension and shoot juices for other shamanic practices.<ref name=(10) />

Other usage

Montrichardia arborescens has other uses as well. The fibers in the stem can be used to make cords, the berries and fruit spikes can be used for fish bait, and the tissue in the stem can be used to make paper.<ref name=(14) />

Other common names<ref name=(1) />

  • Aninga <ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>
  • Arracacho
  • Arum lily
  • Fruit of the devil <ref name=(15) />
  • Malanga-gratter
  • Moco moco / Moko moko / Mokumoku / Mocou mocou
  • Yautia-madera

References

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External links

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