Latin name: Mirabilis expansa
Family: Nyctaginaceae (Four-o'clock Family)
Edible parts of Mauka:Root - dried in the sun then boiled and eaten as a vegetable. The root contains about 7% protein, a good quantity for a root crop and up to 87% carbohydrate on a dry weight basis. Roots can be the size of a man's forearm. Some forms, especially those from Bolivia, contain an astringent substance that can burn the lips and mouth. When exposed to the sun these roots become sweet and are pleasant to eat. Forms grown in Ecuador are not astringent. Roots can be used in sweet or savoury dishes. The cooking water makes an especially flavourful drink. Leaves - raw. Added to salads. The leaves contain about 17% protein (this is probably based on the dry weight.
Description of the plant:
(3 1/4 foot)
Habitat of the herb:Found at heights above 2700 metres in areas subject to strong winds and near constant chill.
Propagation of Mauka:Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seed remains viable for several years. Division. Dig up roots in the autumn, store in a cool moist frost-free place over the winter and replant in April.
Cultivation of the herb:Found at heights above 2700 metres in areas subject to strong winds and near constant chill.
Medicinal use of Mauka:None known
Known hazards of Mirabilis expansa:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.