Arracacia xanthorrhiza (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
Introduction
List of species


Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancroft


Family: Umbelliferae

Synonyms

Arracacia esculenta DC.

Vernacular names

  • Arracacha, white carrot, Peruvian parsnip (En). Arracacha, panème, pomme de terre céleri (Fr). Aracacha (Sp, South America).

Distribution

Native to the South American Andean highlands from Venezuela to Bolivia. Introduced and cultivated also in the rest of South America, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Central America. Occasionally cultivated elsewhere, e.g. in India and Sri Lanka.

Uses

Secondary tubers are starchy and eaten boiled or fried as a vegetable or as an ingredient in stews. Young stems are used in salads. Coarse main rhizomes and mature leaves are used as forage. In Brazil, arracacha is a popular vegetable. In Colombia it often replaces the potato.

Observations

Perennial herb, about 1 m tall, glabrous, with hollow stem. Rhizome tuberous, subcylindrical, large; at maturity lateral roots emerge from its base which become tuberous; tubers smooth, resembling parsnips in texture, odour and colour; flesh white, creamy-yellow or purplish. Leaves alternate; petiole 15-30 cm long, sheathing at base; blade 15-23 cm long, ternately decompound, pinnae deeply and irregularly pinnatifid. Inflorescence a compound terminal umbel with small purple or yellow 5-merous flowers, central ones male, marginal ones bisexual. Fruit a schizocarp. It occurs in the Andes in valleys at 1800-2500 m altitude; in Brazil (Sao Paulo) successfully grown at 1000-1200 m. Propagation is from seed, but more often from lateral shoots produced on the crown of the tuberous rhizome (not from tubers). Optimum conditions are an average annual temperature of 15-20°C and an evenly distributed rainfall of 1000-1200 mm during the growing period of 8-12 months. Yield is up to 18 t/ha, or 6-10 tubers per plant together weighing 2-3 kg. Yellow-fleshed cultivars are preferred. Storage life of freshly harvested tubers is about 1 week at ambient temperatures; at low temperatures (e.g. 3°C) they can be stored longer. Arracacha is potentially an interesting crop for the tropical highlands in South-East Asia; the tubers contain 10-25% starch, which has a similar constitution to cassava starch.

Selected sources

11, 28, 31, 34, 36, 43, 54, 55, 61, 70.

Authors

L.E. Groen, J.S. Siemonsma & P.C.M. Jansen