Cassava: The Essential Tuber
Cassava, Manihot esculenta, or manioc, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge) family native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. It differs from the similarly spelled yucca, an unrelated fruit-bearing shrub in the Asparagaceae family. Cassava, when dried to a powdery (or pearly) extract, is called tapioca; its fermented, flaky version is named garri. In the vernacular languages of the places where it is cultivated, cassava is called yuca (in Spanish), mandioca (Spanish and Portuguese) or aipim (Portuguese), manioka or maniota (Polynesian), balinghoy or kamoteng kahoy (in the Philippines), tabolchu (in Northeast India (Garo Hills)), mogo (in Africa), mandioca, tapioca-root, kappa (predominantly in India) and manioc root.