Roslyn Gleadow, Kira Maher, Julie Cliff

Research output: Contribution to journalComment / DebateOtherpeer-review


What is cassava?
Cassava (Manihot esculenta Cranz), also known as manioc or yuca, is a tropical perennial shrub in the Euphorbiaceae. Cassava is widely cultivated as a food crop due to its starchy, tuberous roots, and to a lesser extent, leaves. Cassava was domesticated from its' wild progenitor (Manihot esculenta ssp. flabellifolia) in South and Central America over 6,000 years ago. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, cassava was introduced by European explorers to Africa, Asia, and more recently to the Pacific. There is evidence for widespread hybridisation and introgression with related species (e.g., with tree cassava, Manihot glaziovii Allem). Cassava is an important food security crop for over 800 million people worldwide, and a staple for 40% of people living in sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that it is eaten by around one billion people every day, placing it among the top ten globally produced crops.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R384-R386
Number of pages3
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2023

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