Herb: Jicama


Latin name: Pachyrhizus tuberosus


Synonyms: Dolichos tuberosus


Family: Leguminosae



Edible parts of Jicama:

Root - raw or cooked. Thirst quenching and nutritious. A source of starch, it is used in custards and puddings. Individual roots can weigh up to 20kg. Young seed pods - cooked and used like French beans. The pods must be thoroughly cooked in order to remove the toxic principle rotenone.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial Climber


Height:
6 m
(20 feet)

Flovering:
July

Habitat of the herb:

Growing into trees and shrubs, often in disturbed areas and usually near the coast, from sea level to 500 metres.

Other uses of Jicama:

The plant contains rotenone, the active ingredient in the insecticide "derris", and it has the potential to be used as an insecticide. Derris is a relatively safe insecticide in that it does not affect warm-blooded animals and also breaks down into harmless substances with 24 hours of being used. It does, however, kill some beneficial insects and is also toxic to fish and amphibians.

Propagation of the herb:

Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in early spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots of rich soil and grow them on fast. Plant them out after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection, such as a cloche, until they are growing away well. Division of the root tubers in the autumn. Store the roots in a cool but frost-free place over the winter, planting them into pots in the greenhouse in early spring and planting them out after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection, such as a cloche, until they are growing away well. Cuttings.

Cultivation of Jicama:

Growing into trees and shrubs, often in disturbed areas and usually near the coast, from sea level to 500 metres.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Pachyrhizus tuberosus:

The seed might be poisonous.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.