Bibliography on Calathea macrosepala, Chufle, edible root, edible flower inflorescence

Calathea macrosepala is the correct name for this plant in Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize; not Calathea allouia

Standley and Steyermark list Calathea macrosepala Schum. as a synonym of Calathea allouia (1952: 209). Nowadays they are considered separate species. I am curious whether Calathea macrosepala is the species that is in Guatemala and Calathea allouia only further south (so not in Guatemala). To encourage this conclusion, Neotropical Flora data base does not include a single specimen of Calathea allouia for Guatemala.

Common names in Tabasco, Mexico: suco, xuco, shuco (Centurion et al.: 95), hoja de piedra (

We are preparing a full report, with lots of photographs on each species of Calathea in the Maya Lowlands of Guatemala. We have found these plants in Parque Nacional Yaxha, Nakum and Naranjo (PNYNN) during our field work there 2018-2019 in coordination and cooperation with the park co-administrators. Now, 2020-2021 we are working in coordination and cooperation with the Municipio de Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala and finding Calathea there also. We have 11 more months on this Muni Livingston project so will have a lot to report as we visit the biodiverse wetlands on our 8-day-per-month field trips every month. Our goal is to find, document, photograph, and publish information to assist the local Maya and local Garifuna people of the Caribbean area, and to provide material for students and professors at all the excellent botanical and biology institutes at leading Guatemalan universities. Plus provide information to professors and students around the world who can’t do field work at the moment due to COVID limiting travel.

PDF, Articles, Books that discuss Calathea macrosepala

Since Calathea is a genus of plant family Marantaceae, we also include monographs of botanical articles on Marantaceae since these will include most species of Calathea.

  • BORCHSENIUS Finn, SUÁREZ Suárez, Luz Stella and Linda M. PRINCE
  • 2012
  • Molecular Phylogeny and Redefined Generic Limits of Calathea (Marantaceae). Systematic Botany, Vol. 37, No. 3 (July-September 2012), pp. 620-635 (16 pages). American Society of Plant Taxonomists.
    Downloadable, but you have to register and provide your personal info!

  • 2003
  • Aprovechamiento alimentario de inflorescencias en la región sierra del estado de Tabasco Polibotánica, núm. 15, mayo, 2003, pp. 89-97. Departamento de Botánica. Distrito Federal, México
    Available Online:
  • 1998
  • Cornucopia II. Kampong Publications, California.

    This second edition is source for edible uses of plants on Ken Fern’s Useful Tropical Plants.
  • KENNEDY, Helen
  • 1978
  • Systematics and Pollination of the "closed-flowered" Species of Calathea (MARANTACEAE). University of California Press.

    Pages 41-46 cover Calathea macrosepala and its synonyms. This book, despite it being over a quarter of a century old, has more accurate information than any recent webpage or article or monograph that continues to list Calathea allouia as present in Mexico, Guatemala or Belize.

    This book is not downloadable.
  • 2012
  • Catálogo de hortalizas nativas de Guatemala. Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Agrícolas. Guatemala. 100 pages.
  • 2013
  • Priorización de especies comestibles subutilizadas promisorias para mejorar la nutrición y la adaptación al cambio climático en el departamento de Morazán, El Salvador. Centro agronómico tropical de investigación y enseñanza. 132 pages.
    Available Online:
  • STANDLEY, Paul C. and Julian A. STEYERMARK
  • 1952
  • Flora of Guatemala. Volume 24, III


Suggested webpages with photos and information on Calathea macrosepala
Shows where present in Chiapas (27 specimens; 2 in Veracruz) and Nicaragua (61 specimens). Zilche for Tabasco, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Belize, or Guatemala.
Mansfeld's World Database of Agriculture and Horticultural Crops is a great concept but does not have pertinent data on Calathea macrosepala.
Information and photographs.
Nice photo by Sune Holt, one of the best photographers of flora of Mesoamerica.
Helpful because the author of this website uses references; most other websites do not list sources (they are just copy-and-paste; close to plagerism).
Information and photos. Shows where found in Nicaragua (you can use that same site to find where specimens have been found in Guatemala).


First posted February, 2021
with text and books on plant family Marantaceae by Nicholas Hellmuth and bibliography updated additionally by Vivian Hurtado,

First edition by Marcella Sarti, posted December, 2017

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