Rattlesnake Plant (Calathea crotalifera)


As we found the strange looking Calathea crotalifera S. Watson 1889, commonly called Rattlesnake Plant, Rattle Shaker, Rattlesnake Ginger or Yellow Rattleshaker we`ve been convinced,
that it must be a Heliconia plant.

We couldn`t find anything about the tropical plant in our botanical library, but fortunatly we had a picture with the name written in Thai letters. My Thai friend started a research in the internet and finally we could identify the perennial, tropical plant, in Thailand called Takarp Thong, what means Golden Scolopender. The scolopender (giant centipedes) is widely distributed in Thailand and is greatly feared for its painful, poisonous bites, as well as adored for its force, speed and pretended magical powers. The Rattlesnake Plant (Calathea crotalifera) belongs to the order Zingiberales (Ginger plants) and the Arrowroot family (Marantaceae), which differs from Heliconias. Rattlesnake plants reach heights of about 3 meters, the strange looking upright blossoms get a length of about 25 cm. The rhizomatous, tropical plant is native to Central- and South America and requires a warm - hot, humid climate, a shaddy location and a consistently moist soil.

Flower Photography © Orchids Flowers.com
Image: Rattlesnake Plant (Calathea crotalifera)

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