Herb: Arracacha

Latin name: Arracacia xanthorrhiza

Synonyms: Arracacia esculenta, Conium arracacia

Family: Umbelliferae

Edible parts of Arracacha:

Tuber - cooked. Very palatable and easily digested, it is used as a staple food in some parts of S. America. The root contains 10 - 25% starch, it is high in calcium and vitamin A. It is used as a potato substitute, its flavour is between that of parsnips and sweet chestnuts with a hint of sweetness. The sweetness increases in storage. The root is also used as the source of starch used in other foods. The roots are harvested in the autumn and have a relatively short storage life. Leaves. Used as a flavouring. Young stems - raw or cooked as a vegetable. The stems are sometimes blanched and used like celery in salads.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Cool mountainous districts.

Propagation of Arracacha:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Germination is often poor, less than 50%. Since this species is believed to be a hybrid it will probably not breed true from seed. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on for the first year in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts. Division. Harvest the roots in the autumn, store overwinter and plant out in the spring. The plant forms a clump of tubers around a central root, each tuber can be used to grow a new plant. Traditionally the base of the tuber is repeatedly slashed to stimulate shoots to form and encourage a uniform arrangement of lateral roots. They are then left for a few days to heal before planting them out.

Cultivation of the herb:

Cool mountainous districts.

Medicinal use of Arracacha:

None known

Known hazards of Arracacia xanthorrhiza:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.