Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

cassava Manihot esculenta, a tropical root crop which is outranked, in volume consumed, only by the sweet potato. The plant is native to C. or S. America, where it has been in use since prehistoric times, and is the only member of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, which provides food. Brazil and Indonesia are the principal producing countries, but cassava has become important in the economies of many tropical countries worldwide. It is marketed mainly in the form of cassava flour, but can be eaten as a vegetable (as can the young leaves) or processed into a wide range of other products.