Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancr. Umbelliferae. Arracacha. Peruvian Carrot.
Northern South America. This plant has been cultivated and used as a food from early times in the cooler mountainous districts of northern South America, where the roots form a staple diet of the inhabitants. The root is not unlike a parsnip in shape but more blunt; it is tender when boiled and nutritious, with a flavor between the parsnip and a roasted chestnut. A fecula, analogous to arrowroot, is obtained from it by rasping in, water. Arracacha yields, according to Boussingault, about 16 tons per acre. The plant is also found in the mountain regions of Central America. The roots are nutritious and palatable and there are yellow, purple and pale varieties. Attempts to naturalize this plant in field culture in Europe have been unsuccessful. It was introduced into Europe in 1829 and again, in 1846, but trials in England, France and Switzerland were unsuccessful in obtaining eatable roots. It was grown near New York in 1825 and at Baltimore in 1828 or 1829 but was found to be worthless. Lately introduced into India, it is now fairly established there and Morris considers it a most valuable plant-food, becoming more palatable and desirable the longer it is used. It is generally cultivated in Venezuela, New Granada and Ecuador, and in the temperate regions of these countries, Arracacha is preferred to the potato. The first account which reached Europe concerning this plant was published in the Annals of Botany in 1805. It was, however, mentioned in a few words by Alcedo, 1789.