The New Student's Reference Work/Cassava

See also Cassava on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.


Cassava (kăs′ sȧ-vȧ). This is the West Indian name of a plant that grows not only in those islands, but in Brazil, Peru and tropical Africa.  In Brazil it is called manioc (mandioc), and in Peru, yucca.  From its stems, branches and leaves is obtained a juice, which, though a deadly poison when fresh, quickly becomes a wholesome food when heated, and is used as a soup by the natives.  From the plant also is obtained arrowroot, which is almost pure starch.  Tapioca also is made from it by heating the arrowroot until the grains of starch burst, are partly converted into dextrine and come together into small lumps.  The pearl tapioca which is better known to us is not obtained from this plant, but from potato starch.  Another important and well known product of cassava is farina, which also is almost pure starch.  This is obtained from the roots, which are grated and then dried on hot metal plates.  The cassava is remarkable for its fertility.