Calathea allouia.

Leren is a perennial plant reaching about 3 feet tall and is native to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Hispaniola, and the Lesser Antilles. It produces egg-shaped tuberous roots 2 centimetres (0.79 in) to 8 centimetres (3.1 in) long at the end of fibrous roots with up to 2 foot long long and 8 inch wide leaves. Indigenous peoples have used the durable leaves to make traditional medicines and as baby clothing. It is sustaining a loss of genetic variability because its cultivation is increasingly being abandoned. Even in its region of origin where its cultivation dates back thousands of years, Guinea arrowroot is at present found only in subsistence farming by traditional growers and some indigenous populations.Knowledge concerning the genetic improvement of Guinea arrowroot is still incipient. Its commercial exploitation is rare and its cultivation using modern techniques is little developed. In fact the gradual abandonment of its cultivation by traditional farmers may lead to an extreme reduction in genetic variability and even to extinction of the species.

Archaeology has shown this plant was one of the first domesticated food plants of South America, alongside bottle gourds, maranta, and squash. These were all being cultivated in northern South American and Panama between 8200 BCE and 5600 BCE!

Leren is usually cooked by boiling the tubers for 15 to 60 minutes. Culinary wise, this toot is often compared to water chestnut because like the water chestnut, it retains its crispness despite being cooked. Boiled leren has a taste similar to sweet corn. The cooked tuber is covered with a thin, edible skin which is most easily peeled after cooking. Leren is mostly eaten as an appetizer. The tubers can be stored at room temperatures for up to three months, but do not tolerate refrigeration well. The cycle from planting to harvesting lasts nine to 14 months, depending on the climatic conditions. After planting, Guinea arrowroot needs little care. In areas infested with phytoparasitic nematodes, Guinea arrowroot shows no symptom of pest attack. It is antagonistic to the gall nematode, Meloidogyne incognita, because of its root secretions which impair the larvae's hatching, penetration and reproduction.

Guinea arrowroot requires soils of medium texture because very clayey soils impair the development of the tuberous roots while in sandy soils its growth is deficient.

You will receive 1-2 healthy, already sprouting roots.

This variety is selected and maintained by Florida seed steward Mark Homesteader of Homestead Heirloom Gardens

Guinea Arrowroot (lerén)

SKU: LIVE-CALATHEA
$30.00Price

    © 2020 The Roughwood Table. All photos, unless noted, and recipes/text are ©  Roughwood Table.

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