Heliconiaceae

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Description: Heliconiaceae have simple, alternate leaves that are often very large. The leaf veins are perpendicular to the midrib, and the petiole is channeled. The leaves tear easily; plants growing in the wild usually have leaves that are somewhat tattered. The leaf sheath around the stem is often partly open at the top. The inflorescence, borne at the end of the stalk, can be either pendant or upright. The bracts of upright-flowered Heliconiaceae harbor unique communities of insects, snails, and microorganisms, much like the leaf axils of bromeliads, but the species compositions of the assemblages in Heliconia bracts and bromeliad leaf axils are very different (Richardson et al. 2000).

Economic uses: Widely grown as an ornamental.


Descripción: Las Heliconiaceas tienen hojas simples y alternas que muchas veces son de gran tamaño. Las venas son perpendiculares al eje central, y el peciolo es sulcado. Las hojas se rasgan fácilmente y usualmente las plantas en el bosque tienen hojas divididas. La base envolvente de la hoja muchas veces está abierta al extremo. La inflorescencia, siempre al extremo del tallo, puede ser erecta o péndula. Las brácteas de las Heliconiaceas con inflorescencias erectas contienen comunidades de animales (insectos, caracoles, y organismos microscopicos) similares a las que estan presentes en las cuencas axilares de las bromelias; sin embargo, se encuentran especies diferentes en cada tipo de planta (Richardson et al. 2000).

Usos económicos: Se cultivan como ornamental.


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