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Arracacia xanthorrhiza - Bancr.

Common Name Peruvian Parsnip, Arracacha
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Cool mountainous districts at elevations of 2000 - 3500 metres[2].
Range Northern S. America
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Arracacia xanthorrhiza Peruvian Parsnip, Arracacha

Arracacia xanthorrhiza Peruvian Parsnip, Arracacha


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Arracacia xanthorrhiza or otherwise known as Arracacha is a perennial root crop with a short, cylindrical stem of up to 10 cm in diameter. It grows up to 1 m tall. It is commonly cultivated in small scale operations for its edible starchy roots. The tuber is cooked and is considered as a staple food in some parts of South America, usually as a potato substitute. It is also a good source of starch. The leaves are used as a flavouring, or eaten either raw or cooked and mixed in salads. The stems are as well cooked and eaten as vegetables.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Arracacia xanthorrhiza is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9 and is frost tender. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


A. esculenta. Conium arracacia.

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Root  Stem
Edible Uses: Condiment

Tuber - cooked[ 22 , 46 , 61 , 97 , 171 ]. Both long and fine roots and edible, tuberous and fusiform roots emerge from the stem[ 418 ]. Very palatable and easily digested[ 1 , 196 ], the root 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 can be 5 - 25cm long and up to 8cm in diameter[ 418 ]. The roots are harvested in the autumn and have a relatively short storage life[ 196 ]. Leaves. Used as a flavouring[ 177 ]. The leaves are used in the same way as celery in raw or cooked salads[ 418 ]. Young stems - raw or cooked as a vegetable[ 183 , 196 ]. The stems are sometimes blanched and used like celery in salads[ 196 , 301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Cultivation of this plant usually takes place at higher elevation of 1,800 - 3,500 metres in the Tropics, though it can also be grown at lower elevations down to 600 metres[ 300 , 418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 14 - 21°c, but can tolerate 10 - 28°c[ 418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 800 - 1,200mm, but tolerates 600 - 1,800mm[ 418 ]. Requires a sunny position[ 418 ]. Prefers a good loam. Grows best in a well-drained sandy loam with a pH in the range of 5 to 6[ 196 , 300 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6, tolerating 4.5 - 6.5. Plants take about 120 - 240 days from planting to produce a first 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[ 196 , 300 ]. 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 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow in a seedbed or containers 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. Plant out when about 10cm tall. Division. 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 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

arracacha, peruvian carrot. Spanish: arracacha; arracha (Bolivia); racacha (Bolivia); virraca (Bolivia). French: pomme de terre céleri. Brazil: batata baroa; mandioquinha.

SOUTHERN AMERICA: Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru (Ancash, Ayacucho, Junín)

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

   Tue May 29 2007

Seeds are not used for commercial production. The sprouts in the top of the roots must be used. The roots do not produce a new plant, as carrots also do not. I am a researcher of arracacha at Brazil. [email protected]

Frances Oliveira   Wed Oct 31 2007

I would like to be able to purchase mandioquinha (arracacia xanthorrhiza) at retail portions. Is there a grower or market that you know in the U.S. that I could order from? I live in the outskirts of Washington D.C. Also, whom could I order seeds from, in case I decide to grow this root. Thank you.

   Mon Nov 19 2007

I'm also looking for that. Tomorrow I'll take a look at the horticultural library here in SF, but a potential source for it seems to be Peace Seeds at Corvalis, OR. They don't have a website, though, so we'd have to mail/call to ask for a catalogue: 2385 SE Thompson St, Corvallis, Oregon 97333-1919 Phone: (541) 752-0421 Saudacoes brazucas, Erica.

Roberto Guerato   Tue Dec 4 2007

Hello, Where can I get arracacia xanthorrhiza seeds in the US?. Thanks for your help.

Maria José Granate   Mon Feb 25 2008

From Maria, Arracacia researcher in Brazil: The most recent news about Arracacia in US are that it can't be commercialy grown in that country and there is a group trying to import it from Brazil. But there are a lot of difficulties... My new e-mail is [email protected]

Maria José Granate   Tue Feb 26 2008

http://www.bioversityinternational.org/publications/Pdf/472.pdf Above is the link for the best e-book on Arracacia. Please read on page 108 and following how to do plant propagation. Propagules must be correctly prepared and cut to obtain tuberous roots. If they are not correctly cut the plant will produce roots but not commercial tuberous roots. Regards, Maria

Bioversity The best on Andean plants!

Angela   Sun Mar 23 2008

My questions are exactly the same as Frances', above (including the part about living in the DC area)--has anyone found answers? It's hard to believe countries outside South America have not yet experienced "the tastiest vegetable in the world"! :-) Thanks / Obrigada!

Marcia   Thu Apr 23 2009

The last comment is dated Mar 23/2008. I live in Florida, and mandioquinha/arracacia is that Brazilian taste I miss the most. If anyone know where to find it, please let me know. What about jaboticaba? No, I don't know any other name for it. Thanks Marcia

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