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Cassava, Mandioca, Tapioca plant, Sweet potato tree, Yuca

Euphorbiaceae Manihot esculenta Crantz, Manihot sp.

Source: Magness et al. 1971

Manioc, or Cassava, is a highly important food crop of the tropics and is grown to some extent in the Southern States, mainly for stock feed. The plant is a large herbaceous shrub up to 10 feet, resembling castor bean in appearance, with large, compound leaves. It is cultivated for the large, tuberous roots which are rich in starch and are the source of tapioca, Brazilian arrow root, and other foods. The tuberous roots form in a cluster at the stem base. Plants are propagated by stem pieces laid horizontally in furrows, somewhat like sugar cane. The roots used as food sources are formed entirely underground. Only 15 acres were reported for continental U.S., 1954 census, but there is substantial production in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch