Manihot esculenta

Botanical Name :Manihot esculenta
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Crotonoideae
Tribe: Manihoteae
Genus: Manihot
Species: M. esculenta
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonyms: Manihot aipi, manihot utilissima.Manioc. Yuca. Cassava. Farinha de Mandioca.

Common Names :Cassava,manioc, balinghoy or kamoteng kahoy (in the Philippines), mogo (in Africa), mandioca, tapioca-root,Cassada,  cassave,kasaba, katela boodin, maniba, mandioc, manioca, muk shue, shushu, tapioca, tapioka, yuca.

Habitat :Manihot esculenta is  native to South America and is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Description:
Manihot esculenta is a tropical perennial shrub of approximately 6 feet tall. It has palmate leaves, sometimes green flowers and a brittle stem. Vegetative propagation is done by cuttings from the stem. The fruit is round or oblong and winged; each fruit contain 3 seeds.
Cassava is grown for its enlarged starch-filled tuberous roots.

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The cassava root is long and tapered, with a firm, homogeneous flesh encased in a detachable rind, about 1mm thick, rough and brown on the outside. Commercial varieties can be 5 to 10 cm in diameter at the top, and around 15 cm to 30 cm long. A woody cordon runs along the root’s axis. The flesh can be chalk-white or yellowish. Cassava roots are very rich in starch and contain significant amounts of calcium (50 mg/100g), phosphorus (40 mg/100g) and vitamin C (25 mg/100g). However, they are poor in protein and other nutrients. In contrast, cassava leaves are a good source of protein (rich in lysine) but deficient in the amino acid methionine and possibly tryptophan.

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Edible Uses : The peeled roots of the sweet variety are usually eaten cooked or baked.Cassava-based dishes are widely consumed wherever the plant is cultivated; some have regional, national, or ethnic importance. Cassava must be cooked properly to detoxify it before it is eaten.

Cassava can be cooked in many ways. The soft-boiled root has a delicate flavor and can replace boiled potatoes in many uses: as an accompaniment for meat dishes or made into purées, dumplings, soups, stews, gravies, etc. This plant is used in cholent in some households, as well. Deep fried (after boiling or steaming), it can replace fried potatoes, bringing a distinctive flavor. In Brazil, detoxified manioc is ground and cooked to a dry, often hard or crunchy meal which is used as a condiment, toasted in butter, or eaten alone as a side dish.

Medicinal Uses:
Cassava root has been promoted as a treatment for bladder and prostate cancer. However, according to the American Cancer Society, “there is no convincing scientific evidence that cassava or tapioca is effective in preventing or treating cancer.

Other Uses:
Cassava tubers and hay are used worldwide as animal feed. Cassava hay is harvested at a young growth stage (three to four months) when it reaches about 30–45 cm above ground; it is then sun-dried for one to two days until it has final dry matter content of less than 85%. Cassava hay contains high protein (20–27% crude protein) and condensed tannins (1.5–4% CP). It is valued as a good roughage source for ruminants such as dairy or beef cattle, buffalo, goats, and sheep, whether by direct feeding or as a protein source in concentrate mixtures.

Laundry starch:
Manioc is also used in a number of commercially-available laundry products, especially as starch for shirts and other garments. Using manioc starch diluted in water and spraying it over fabrics before ironing helps harden collars.

Known Hazards : There is a bitter, poisonous- and a sweet, – nonpoisonous variety of cassava; however the skin stays poisonous and the sweet variety should be peeled.there are hydrocyanic glycosides (HCN) in all parts of the plant; these glycosides are removed by peeling the rhizomes (tuberous roots) and boiling these in water.
The root of the bitter variety is very poisonous when raw. Cooking destroys the hydrocyanic acid; the cooking water must be discarded.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/m/mandio09.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manihot_utilissima
http://www.tropilab.com/manihot-esc.html

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