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Tropaeolum tuberosum - Ruiz.&Pav.

Common Name Mashua, Anu
Family Tropaeolaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Mountain slopes and valleys[90]. Moist wooded scrubby areas around 3000 metres in Peru and Ecuador[196].
Range S. America - Peru, Bolivia.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Tropaeolum tuberosum Mashua, Anu

Tropaeolum tuberosum Mashua, Anu


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Tropaeolum tuberosum is a PERENNIAL CLIMBER growing to 2 m (6ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from June to October, and the seeds ripen from June to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Root
Edible Uses:

Tubers - cooked[1, 2]. A peppery flavour, it is rather unpleasant to many tastes[27, 34, 37]. The flavour can be improved somewhat by freezing the tubers after they have been cooked, they are then considered to be a delicacy by many people[183]. We have also noticed an improvement in the flavour if the tubers are harvested after they have been frosted, though if the frost is too heavy they can damage the tubers[K]. Other reports suggest half-drying the tubers before use[27, 34, 97, 183]. The tubers can be up to 10cm long and 5cm thick[260]. They are high in vitamin C[196]. The dried tuber contains up to 16% protein[196]. Leaves - raw or cooked as a vegetable[183, 196]. Flowers - raw[183, 196].

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.
Anaphrodisiac  Vitamin C

The tuber is considered to be an anaphrodisiac in the Andes, reducing sexual desire. Many men, therefore, refuse to eat it, whilst recommending it for use by women![196]. Clinical trials have indicated a reduction of up to 45% in some male hormones when the tuber forms a considerable part of the diet, but no loss in fertility has been observed[196].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


The growing plant is very resistant to diseases and insects, it contains nematocidal, bactericidal and insecticidal compounds[196]. Tropaeolum tuberosum is known for attracting bees. It has nectar/pollen-rich flowers.

Special Uses

Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires well-drained lime-free soil in a warm sunny position[1, 33, 200]. Grows best with its roots in the shade and top growth in the sun[202]. Plants can become dormant in hot dry summers[90]. Grows best in a pH range from 5.3 to 7.5[196]. Prefers a turfy loam or a sandy peaty soil[1]. This species is not very hardy when grown outdoors in Britain. The top growth will survive light frosts, whilst the tubers, if well mulched, will survive to at least -5°c[1, 200]. Anu is sensitive to the number of hours of daylight in a day and most forms will not flower or form new tubers until late in the season (from September), so a mild autumn is required for good yields[33]. The variety 'Ken Aslet', however, is not affected by daylight hours, it flowers from June to October and produces larger tubers than the species from mid-summer onwards[90, 104, 200]. T. tuberosum var. lineamaculatum 'Ken Aslet' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The tubers are formed very near the surface of the soil[90] and so will require some protection, such as a mulch if they are to be left in the ground over the winter[K]. The tubers can also be stored in a cool dry frost-free place over the winter and then planted out in April[200]. Long cultivated in the Andes for its edible root, there are many named varieties[2, 61, 90, 104, 196]. A potentially very high-yielding species, individual plants can produce up to 4 kilos of tubers - yields of 50 tonnes per hectare are possible[196]. A climbing plant supports itself by twisting its leaf stalks around other plants etc[219]. The caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly can be a nuisance and often cause considerable damage to the leaves[219]. The cultivar

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse. Prick the seedlings out into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. So far we have been unable to obtain seed from plants grown in this country. Division of the tubers in the autumn or spring. In cold winter areas the tubers can be harvested in the autumn after top-growth has died down and they can then be stored in a cool frost-free position until planting them out in the spring. Cuttings of basal stems in the spring[200]. Pot them up into individual pots and place them in light shade in a frame until they are established. Plant out in early summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Mashwa (Ecuador and Peru), Maswallo, Mazuko, Mascho (Peru), Añu (in Peru and Bolivia), Isaño, Cubio (in Colombia), Tuberous nasturtium

Andes, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Britain, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Europe, New Zealand, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Peru, South America, USA, Venezuela [1-4].

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
Tropaeolum brachyceras Perennial Climber1.0 8-11  LMHNDM10 
Tropaeolum leptophyllum Perennial Climber1.5 7-10  LMNM20 
Tropaeolum majusNasturtium, Indian CressPerennial Climber3.5 8-11 FLMNM433
Tropaeolum minusDwarf NasturtiumPerennial0.3 8-11  LMNM432
Tropaeolum patagonicum Perennial0.2 -  LMHNMWe30 
Tropaeolum sessilifolium Perennial Climber3.0 8-11  LMHNDM30 
Tropaeolum tricolorum Perennial Climber1.5 7-10  LMHNM20 

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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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

ruben honatt Luque Guevara   Sun Jun 8 2008

deseo realizar mi tesis de graduacion en la agroindustrializacion del año espero si me pueden dar algun auspicio-...

Saskia   Wed Sep 2 2009

This page appears to be missing the synonyms, the most common of which for this plant is "Mashua". According to wikipedia it is also known as Mashwa, Maswallo, Mazuko, Mascho, Añu, Isano, & Cubio.

Eric Locke   Sun Dec 13 2009

After a mild Autumn I have had a good harvest of both seeds and tubers from "Ken Aslet" here in the UK

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