Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancroft
Family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)
Arracacia esculenta DC
Quechua: laqachu, rakkacha, huiasampilla
Aymara: lakachu, lecachu
Spanish: arracacha, racacha, apio criollo (Venezuela); arrecate (Latin America); racacha, virraca (Peru); zanahoria blanca (Ecuador)
Portuguese: mandioquinha-salsa, mandoquinha, batata baroa, batata salsa, batata cenoura
English: arracacha, racacha, white carrot, Peruvian carrot, Peruvian parsnip
French: arracacha, panème, pomme de terre céléri
Origin. Arracacha has probably been cultivated as long as any plant in South America. Its wild ancestor is unknown, although there are many semidomesticated types that may include arracacha's progenitor. The greatest germplasm variation is in Ecuador and adjacent areas of Colombia and Peru.
Description. This perennial is a stout herb, somewhat resembling celery in form. It is one of the largest of the cultivated umbellifers, and the crushed stems and roots have the aroma characteristic of the family. Stems and leaves usually attain a height of about 1 m and are ensheathed in dark green or purple leaves. Flowers are purple or yellow, small, and formed in flat clusters on stalks radiating from a central stem. Although many flowers are fertile, arracacha is generally harvested before completing a seed cycle.
The cylindrical central root bears numerous lateral roots that are 5–25 cm long and swollen to 2–6 cm in diameter. Their flesh ranges in color from white to yellow or purple, with a creamy white exterior. In some types, a cross section of the main root shows attractive rings of various colors.