|Better Farming Series 16 - Roots and Tubers (FAO - INADES, 1977, 58 p.)|
Cassava is a shrub that is grown chiefly for its roots.
It has its origin in South America and is now widely grown in tropical Africa.
At its base the plant consists of one or more stems 2 to 3 centimetres in diameter; usually each stem divides into three branches, and each branch in turn divides into three, and so on.
When a stem is cut, the sap that flows is white and looks much like milk. Inside the stem is pith. The stem of cassava is not very hard; it is easily broken by a strong wind.
Cassava leaves have a long stalk and a much divided leaf- blade.
The leaf veins are green or red.
A yam leaf
The flowers are pink, red, yellow or green. There are both male and female flowers in the same cluster.
The fruit is divided into three parts. Each part contains a seed. When the cassava fruit is ripe, it opens.
The farmer grows cassava chiefly for its roots. Some of them become large and fat by storing up food reserves. Other thinner roots continue to feed the plant.