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Pachyrhizus tuberosus - (Lam.)Spreng.

Common Name Jicama, Ajipo
Family Fabaceae or Leguminosae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards The seed might be poisonous[1].
Habitats Growing into trees and shrubs, often in disturbed areas and usually near the coast, from sea level to 500 metres.
Range S. America - Peru.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Pachyrhizus tuberosus Jicama, Ajipo


Pachyrhizus tuberosus Jicama, Ajipo

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Pachyrhizus tuberosus is a PERENNIAL CLIMBER growing to 6 m (19ft 8in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. It is in flower in July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root  Seedpod
Edible Uses:

Root - raw or cooked[2]. Thirst quenching and nutritious[1]. A source of starch, it is used in custards and puddings[46, 61]. Individual roots can weigh up to 20kg[200]. Young seed pods - cooked and used like French beans[1, 46, 61]. The pods must be thoroughly cooked in order to remove the toxic principle rotenone[200].

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

Insecticide

The plant contains rotenone, the active ingredient in the insecticide 'derris', and it has the potential to be used as an insecticide[200]. 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[K].

Special Uses

Nitrogen Fixer

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a light rich sandy soil[1]. Often cultivated for its edible root and seedpods in tropical areas[46], this plant is not hardy outdoors in Britain and requires greenhouse treatment[200] but could possibly be grown as a half-hardy annual. When grown for its root the flowers should be removed[1]. Plants are unlikely to form a tuber when grown in Britain due to their photoperiodic requirements[200]. This means that the plants require between 11 - 13 hours of daylight hours per day in order to initiate tuber production[K]. 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[200].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in early spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots of rich soil and grow them on fast. Plant them out after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection, such as a cloche, until they are growing away well. Division of the root tubers in the autumn. Store the roots in a cool but frost-free place over the winter, planting them into pots in the greenhouse in early spring and planting them out after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection, such as a cloche, until they are growing away well. Cuttings.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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 :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Pachyrhizus ahipaAhipa, Yam beanPerennial0.5 0-0  LMNM302
Pachyrhizus erosusYam Bean, Jicama, Mexican YamClimber Perennial6.0 9-12 FLMHNM402

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.

 

Expert comment

Author

(Lam.)Spreng.

Botanical References

200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Ian Graham   Sat Mar 1 2008

See Buried Treasures Tasty Tubers of the World, pg 60-61 for more background, the website www.banana-tree.com for nursery source (Easton PA USA) IG Dundas ON Cda HZ5b

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