cassava plant

Cassava is one tough plant because it can grow in poor and infertile soil in most tropical environments. Cassava is an important food resource for people all over the world. This bushy plant has roots that weigh as much as 30 pounds! These heavy roots are sometimes mashed into yummy pancakes or sliced and fried like potato chips. Cassava leaves are high in vitamins and minerals.

Scientific name: Manihot esculenta
Size: can grow to be 8 feet tall
Habitat: native to South America but also cultivated throughout Africa
Characteristics: bushy plant with greenish- yellow flowers; has a poison that is destroyed when prepared into food
Significance: main food staple for people of South America and Africa; starchy root is used to make tapioca, juices, and bread

Image credits: main image: courtesy of Roger Harris, Jungle Photos.