Family: Marantaceae Kichwa: Karu karu pintaru puma panga
Throughout the western Amazon Llaki panga (Stromanthe stromanthoides) are the preferred wrapping leaves (maituna panga) used for steaming food. Fish, mushrooms, or other delicacies are folded into the leaf, tied off, and placed over a fire. Once steamed the bacteria are killed leaving the food ceiled in a sterile packet. Until opened the food remains protected from bacteria and so does not spoil quickly. Even steamed fish will keep for a few days in a maitu without refrigeration. Llaki panga leaves are also used to store and heat up leftovers. For this reason they are usually grown just outside the kitchen where they can be picked at a moments notice.
Although other species in the Marantaceae family can also be used to steam food Llaki panga are preferred because of the delicate aroma they impart. Thus they also function as a kind of seasoning.
Delicia Dagua, "The leaf that was the jaguar's soap." Youtube video. 1:49 January 13, 2019 (Originally filmed in July of 2010.)
Tod Swanson, How jaguar spots shaped a leaf pattern." Originally filmed in July of 2010. Youtube video. 1:16 January 13, 2019.