Closely related to Pachyrrhizus erosus[
Dolichos tuberosus Lam.
Cacara tuberosa (Lam.) Britton & Wilson
Cacara tuberosa (Lam.) Britton
Stizolobium tuberosum (Lam.) Spreng.
Common Name: Jicama
Pachyrhizus tuberosus is a perennial climbing or trailing plant producing annual, twining stems about 5 metres long from a tuberous rootstock[
The plant is often cultivated for its edible root and seedpods in tropical areas[
The leaves, mature seedpods and the seeds contain a poisonous glucoside[
The leaves, stems, roots, ripe pods, and seeds can be toxic to humans[
S. America - Peru.
Growing into trees and shrubs, often in disturbed areas and usually near the coast, from sea level to 500 metres.
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Grows well in lowland tropical areas at elevations up to 1,000 metres and a moderate rainfall[
]. Plants grow best in areas where the mean minimum temperature is 25°c and the maximum is 30°c, though it can tolerate 16 - 34°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 1,900mm, but can tolerate 640 - 4,000mm[
Prefers a sunny position[
]. Tolerates a wide range of soils[
]. Prefers a light, rich, well-drained, sandy soil[
]. Dislikes water-logged soils[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 5.5, but can tolerate 4.3 - 7.3[
The tubers mature in 180 - 240 days[
A short-day plant, it requires between 11 - 13 hours of daylight hours per day in order to initiate tuber production[
], though vegetative growth is normal even in relatively long days of 14 - 15 hours[
When grown for its root the flowers should be removed[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
Root - raw or cooked[
]. Thirst quenching and nutritious[
]. A source of a pure white starch resembling arrowroot, it is used in custards and puddings[
].The root is harvested before it matures and becomes fibrous, when the plant has been growing for about 6 months and the tuber weighs about 2 kilos[
]. Mature tubers can be up to 2 metres long and weigh up to 20kg[
Young seed pods - cooked and used like French beans[
]. The pods must be thoroughly cooked in order to remove the toxic principle rotenone[
]. The seedpods should not be eaten since they are covered in irritant hairs[
The plant contains rotenone, the active ingredient in the insecticide 'derris', and it has the potential to be used as an insecticide[
]. Derris is a relatively safe insecticide in that it does not affect warm-blooded animals and also breaks down into harmless substances with 24 hours of being used. It does, however, kill some beneficial insects and is also toxic to fish and amphibians[
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in situ[
Division of the root tubers.
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