Arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza)

A. esculenta. Conium arracacia.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Arracacia xanthorrhiza

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Tuber – cooked[22, 46, 61, 97, 171]. Very palatable and easily digested[1, 196], it is used as a staple food in some parts of S. America[2]. The root contains 10 – 25% starch, it is high in calcium and vitamin A[196]. It is used as a potato substitute, its flavour is between that of parsnips and sweet chestnuts with a hint of sweetness[2, 183]. The sweetness increases in storage[196]. The root is also used as the source of starch used in other foods[183]. The roots are harvested in the autumn and have a relatively short storage life[196].

    Leaves. Used as a flavouring[177].

    Young stems – raw or cooked as a vegetable[183, 196]. The stems are sometimes blanched and used like celery in salads[196].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination is often poor, less than 50%[196]. Since this species is believed to be a hybrid it will probably not breed true from seed. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for the first year in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Division. Harvest the roots in the autumn, store overwinter and plant out in the spring. The plant forms a clump of tubers around a central root, each tuber can be used to grow a new plant. Traditionally the base of the tuber is repeatedly slashed to stimulate shoots to form and encourage a uniform arrangement of lateral roots. They are then left for a few days to heal before planting them out[196].
Prefers a good loam. Grows best in a sandy loam with a pH in the range of 5 to 6, in areas with about 1000mm of rain a year, requiring a minimum rainfall of about 600mm[196]. Tolerates a pH in the range 6.3 to 6.8. This species is not very hardy in Britain but it can be grown here as a half-hardy perennial, the roots being harvested in the autumn, stored overwinter in a cool frost-free place and planted out in the spring[1]. This species is often cultivated for its edible root in S. America, where there are many named varieties[2, 46, 61, 177]. Attempts in the 19th century to cultivate it as a commercial crop in Europe, however, were unsuccessful[2]. Plants take about 120 – 240 days from planting to produce a crop and 300 – 400 days to produce a crop of mature tubers[196]. At harvest time there can be as many as 10 tubers each the size of a carrot formed around the central root196]. One plant can yield 2 – 3 kg of edible roots, total yields of 40 tonnes per hectare are possible[196]. Preventing the plant from flowering can increase yields[196]. Plants might be sensitive to daylength, possibly requiring short days to initiate tuber production, and so may not be suitable for temperate climates. They also have a longer growing season than potatoes and are frost-tender so need a relatively long growing season[196]. Plants do not always produce viable seed in S. America[196].
Northern S. America

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.