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ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Tapioca, Cassava, manioc, mandioca, brazil arrowroot, para arrowroot, rio arrowroot, yuca • Hindi: शकरकंद Shakarkand • Manipuri: ঊমঙৰা Umangra • Marathi: prochugaali chine, pavde-pharin • Tamil: Maravallikkilanku, Allvalli kizhangu • Malayalam: Kollikkilannu, Maraccini, Marakkilannu • Telugu: Karrapendalamu • Kannada: ಕಣಗಲ Kanagala, ಮರಗೆಣಸು mara genasu, ಬಱಗಾಲದಗೆಡ್ಡೆ baragaalada gedde • Oriya: Kaato konda • Mizo: Pangbal • Sanskrit: तरुकंदः Tarukandah, कल्पकंदः Kalpakandah • Tangkhul: Thingpai • Angami: Seirophei
Botanical name: Manihot esculenta    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Jatropha manihot, Jatropha dulcis

Tapioca is a tall semiwoody perennial shrub or a small tree with large palmately compound leaves. It looks deceptively similar to the castor bean plant. Leaves are dark green, a foot or more across and have 5-9 lobes. Leaf stalks are are very long, up to 2 ft and they are red, and so are the stems. Plants can grow more than 20 ft tall. The plant is known for its tuberous edible roots, that are 8-30 in long and 1-3 in in diameter. They grow in outward pointing clusters from the base of the stem just below the soil surface. The roots are eaten roasted or boiled almost all over India. There are several cultivars of this plant. In fact, there are some garden cultivars of Tapioca which have variegated leaves, and probably do not flower.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale Photographed in Mizoram.

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