Monday, 30 May 2011

The Trouble with Arracacha...

I previously announced my successful overwintering of Arracacha cuttings.
So by now I should have the stout healthy specimens established outdoors, perhaps just flicking off the odd aphid, or casually hoiking an occasional weed from their mulch. But in fact they are still in pots, and under intensive care.
So what is the trouble? Well, I've been up some blind alleys trying to answer that. I noticed dieback of parts of the root system, along with yellowing then death of older leaves. Here's one plant during an unsuccessful examination for root-eating wildlife.

Here's a shot showing leaves at the stage after yellowing...

...Next comes complete death of the leaf. My guess is that the original cuttings carried some virus with them from Brasil, and given that the plants are now dropping leaves as fast as they grow new ones, I'm loosing hope of getting a crop this year. I should probably cut my losses and burn the remaining survivors.

But there is another approach...

A couple of plants have been determined to flower since mid winter.  The photo above shows the umbel-mounted tiny flowers in various stages of doing their thing.
If the plants stay alive long enough for the seed to become viable, this might give a route that leaves any virus behind, and give some plant variation, with all of the benefits that brings.

So probably no Arracach fritters this year then.

Update. All plants died by Spring. Darn it!


  1. Hi Ian

    No one ever said this was going to be easy......

  2. Interesting crop too !
    Did you manage to grow them until they give you seeds ? Did they produce edible roots ?

  3. Hi Julien. No viable seed was formed, and all plants eventually died. I'm on the lookout for more propagation material to try again.

  4. hi how do i get this plant??

  5. Hi grizzy. A trip to Brasil is one method ;-)

  6. What kind of soil did you use?

    1. Hi Susanna, just ordinary general purpose compost. I don't think that was the source of the problem.

  7. Hi Ian, your soil may be the problem. I would try and replicate the soil makeup in which they thrive there in BR...lots of iron for sure. I lived in BR and was missing mandioquinha and happened upon your blog. Best of luck to you!

  8. Hi...

    IS it OK to use one of your photos in a new book I am writing? (Children's book on unusual vegetables) I would give you attribution.