Botanical name of cassava

The botanical name of cassava is Manihot esculenta.
It is a member of Kingdom Plantae, It is an Angiosperms of the Tracheophyta
It is a Eudicot.
It is a Rosid of the Order Malpighiales
Cassava is a member of Family Euphorbiaceae
It belongs to Genus Manihot.
All forms belong to the two species “Manihot esculenta Crantz” and “Manihot utilissima Pohl”.
Cassava is also called manioc, yuca, macaxeira, mandioca , aipim , and agbeli.
It is a dicotedonous perennial shrub grown primarily for its storage roots which are eaten as a vegetable. 
The cassava plant is a woody plant with erect stems and spirally arranged simple lobed leaves with petioles up to 30 cm in length. 
The edible roots of the plant are usually cylindrical and tapered and are white, brown or reddish in color. 
Cassava plants can reach 4 m in height and is usually harvested 9-12 months after planting. 
Cassava is classified as either sweet or bitter. Like other roots and tubers, both bitter and sweet varieties of cassava contain antinutritional factors and toxins, with the bitter varieties containing much larger amounts.  It must be properly prepared before consumption, as improper preparation of cassava can leave enough residual cyanide to cause acute
cyanide intoxication, goiters, and even
ataxia , partial paralysis, or death

Sweet Cassava

E.g Manihot aipi Phol

One of the two major varieties of cassava is referred to as "sweet" cassava, not because it is higher in sugars than other varieties, but because it is less poisonous. Cassava contains large quantities of cyanide compounds, which must be processed out of the tubers before they can be safely eaten. The sweet variety of cassava has fewer of these compounds, and does not require as much processing. Sweet varieties also produce higher yields.

Bitter Cassava

E.g Manihot utilissima Phol 

Bitter cassava is very similar in cultivation and general appearance to sweet cassava, but produces much higher quantities of cyanide compounds. Sweet cassava may contain as few as 40 parts per million, while bitter cassava varieties can range as high as 490 parts per million. Any quantity of cyanogens over 50 parts per million is considered to be hazardous. In unsettled regions, some farmers deliberately switch to bitter cassava as a deterrent to crop theft. 

Botanical description of cassava 

Cassava is a woody perennial that can grow up to 5 m in height. The leaves are large, spiral and lobed. Several tubers are produced at growth stage which contains 35% starch and weighs up to 40 kg. The male and female flowers are in clusters, and the plant also produces a non-fleshy fruit capsule. 

Cassava can be propagated by stem cutting or by seed. Propagation by seed is often slow, and some of the seeds may require to be scarified before germination can take place. However, stem cuttings germinate readily, and this is the usual method of multiplication or establishment.

Germination, shoot expansion, and root spread occurs within the first few weeks after emergence or sprouting. At the early growth stage, the adventitious roots are formed first from the nodes at the base of more than one axillary bud (nodal roots) 5–7 days after planting, which is then followed by the formation of rootlets from a recently formed callus at the base of the cutting (basal roots). 

The buds also begin to sprout and enlarge 5–8 days after planting, with the first leaves appearing by 10–13 days. Sprouting is faster at a soil temperature around 28–30°C but ceases at temperatures higher than 37°C and lower than 17°C. 

The maximum leaf area is reached in 4–5 months after planting. Flowering starts from the first 6 weeks and continues throughout the growth period of the crop. Tuber initiation starts from the 8th week after planting but depends on the variety and environmental conditions. Most of the fibrous roots will develop into tubers but after 6–9 months no fibrous roots will grow into tubers.

The fibrous roots (ranging from about 3 to 20 roots, depending on cultivars and growing conditions) initially penetrate the soil as thin fibrous roots, after that, they undergo secondary thickening and starts swelling from the proximal end where the fibrous root is attached to the stem. The feeder roots grow vertically into the soil to a depth of 1 m, thus the reason for its ability to tolerate drought and low soil fertility. 

Mature roots which contain 20–30% starch extend 60 cm down into the soil and are around the base of the plant. Fresh root yield at harvest under the most favorable conditions is about 90 t/ha while average world yields from mostly subsistence agricultural systems are 10 t ha−1

The cassava tuber is physiologically inactive and thus cannot be used to propagate the crop. Studies have shown that shoot development takes pre-eminence during the first 3–5 months of the development of the plant whereas root bulking occurs during the subsequent period of the growing season. This may be because the plants mobilize photosynthates to the shoots early in the growing cycle and supply the roots more photosynthates during the later part of the growing cycle. This may, however, depend on critical eco-physiological conditions such as soil and water conditions, temperature regimes and photoperiodism. In general, cassava does not have specific water stress sensitive growth stage beyond crop establishment, and the crop tolerates prolonged drought and erratic precipitation. 

The ability of cassava to tolerate elevated temperature, drought and increased concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, places it as a crop that can adapt to climate change impacts.

Medicinal Uses of cassava 

It serve an important medical or herbal function in villages. Thus giving it a say in the category of alternative medical plants. Some of the medical values are outlined below.

1. Leaves are important assets in territories suffering from poverty and malnutrition.

2. Reduces the constant underlying risk of associated diseases such as goiter, cretinism and diabetes.

3. They are applied as a compress to the head for headache and in fever.

4. Cooked and pulped leaves applied to tumours.

5. Leaf sap squeeze into wounds as a haemostatic.

Now,  one should be able to give an answer to the question; what is the  botanical name of  Cassava. Stating clearly what family of plants it belongs to.

Guest article submitted  by Botanical name of

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