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  Re: [aroid-l] Malanga root/tuber plant???
From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at msn.com> on 2002.08.17 at 10:32:47(9192)
Dear Marc,

I will TRY to help you. Because I like to eat these aroids, I have taken
an interest in recognizing the raw tubers being sold here in WPB Florida.
There are at least 5 tuberous aroids sold under the blanket name

1) Xanthosoma sagittifolia is 'malanga blanca', the rhizomes are longer
and the outer surface is mostly not as 'even' or smooth as the others, it
has indentations so that it seems like the rhizomes have grown amongst
golf-balls and the indentations of these balls show on the sides of the
rhizomes. It has very pale tissue between the light-colored cataphylls
( ? ) at the growing tip/point.

2) Two other commonly sold species both have more even, smooth-sided darker
and shorter rhizomes, the growing tips have darker cataphylls, one has
clearly dark purplish tissue under these cataphylls and is considered to be
X. violacium. Sold as 'red coco' in Jamaican groceries, but sometimes the
following species is also sold as 'red coco'.

3) The other has dark cataphylls but lacks the intense color, it may be X.
maffafa or another species, when it grows the dark-colored leaves have pale

4) What is being called X. atrovirens is sometimes seasonally available
(around years end) as 'malanga amarilla' (yellow malanga), its rhizomes are
almost black in color on the exterior, many small wire-like roots are
visible. The rhizomes are generally trimmed off so that the growing tips
are gone (they must re-plant the top of the plant when it is harvested), the
inner flesh is yellow almost orange in some tubers. It is very seasonal,
and the taste is somewhat like a cross between corn flour and peanuts, very
good in soups or grated and made into fritters or mixed with a little
regular wheat flour and salt and used as dumplings in soups. The leaves
have a silverish cast, and rounded tips. I am confused by the name, as in
Deni Bowns book she refers to the plant with the little 'cups' at the tips
of the leaves as an Ecuadorian native X. atrovirens, and also to an edible
X. atrovirens.

5) Colocasia esculenta is sold as 'malanga islenia', large globose
rhizomes/tubers'. I THINK that sometimes eddoes (C. e. globosa
or' antiquorum' are sold as malanga also, smaller oval smooth tubers.

I hope this is helps!

Good growing (and eating!!)


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