Arrowroot (or odidience plant) is a large perennial herb of genus Maranta, found in rain forest habitats. Arrowroot is also the name for the easy-to-digest starch from the rhizomes (rootstock) of West Indian arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea). The plant is naturalized in Florida, but it is chiefly cultivated in the West Indies (Jamaica and St. Vincent), Australia, Southeast Asia, and South Africa. Because of this Napoleon supposedly said the real reason for the British love of arrowroot was to support their colonies.The rootstock is successively grated, washed and sieved until only the pure low-protein mucilaginous starch remains. The name may come from the native Caribbean Arawak people's aru-aru (meal of meals) for whom the plant is a staple. Most starch sold today as arrowroot is actually cassava flour which does not have the same gelling and nutritional properties. In the early days of carbonless forms, arrowroot, because of its fine grain size, was a widely used ingredient. After an economical way of centrifugally separating wheat flour was devised, arrowroot lost its role in papermaking. Archaeological studies in the Americas show evidence of arrowroot cultivation as early as 7,000 years ago.