Here is the fourth entry in Taisha’s nastic movement series:
These photos of Maranta leuconeura var. leuconeura ‘Fascinator’ (photo 1 | photo 2) were uploaded to the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool by Drew Avery@Flickr. They were taken in February of 2010 in the Princess of Wales Conservatory at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Much appreciated, Drew!
Maranta leuconeura is nyctinastic. This means it moves in response to diurnal changes in both light and temperature. The circadian rhythmic movement of the leaves goes from open and out during the day to closed and downward at night. The closed plant leaves are said to resemble praying hands, which is why this species is also called the prayer plant.
Maranta leuconeura is an herbaceous perennial native to Brazil. Some interesting plants native to Brazil in this series–one could imagine that the forests there must seem alive with all these moving plants! This rhizomatous evergreen has leaves with attractive markings, and small white flowers that are borne upon slender stalks. The cultivated selection ‘Fascinator’ has more colourful leaf patterns than the species. It also has more pronounced and regular midrib markings compared to a similar cultivar, ‘Erythroneura’.