Malanga

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Xanthosoma
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Liliopsida
Order:Alismatales
Family:Araceae
Genus:Xanthosoma
Species

About 50; see text

Malanga (Xanthosoma genus, with over 40 species; also known as yautia, coco, cocoyam, tannia, tannier, and many other names) is a root vegetable from the Arum lily family. It is similar to taro and elephant ears.

The plant is thought to have originated in northern lowland South America then spread to the Antilles and Mesoamerica. Today it is still grown in all those regions but is especially popular in Cuba and Puerto Rico. It is also grown in West Africa, now the major producer, where it can be used as a replacement for yams in the popular dish fufu. It is also grown in the Philippines.

Traditionally the plant has been a subsistence crop with the excess sold at local markets, but large numbers of Latin Americans in the United States have now created a market for commercial production. In general, production has not yet been able to meet demand.

The plant has a growing cycle of nine to 11 months, during which time it produces a large central corm surrounded by smaller edible cormels about the size of potatoes. These cormels are high in starch and carbohydrates. Their taste has been described as earthy and nutty and they are a common ingredient in soups and stews. The plant's green leaves grow to over half a metre in size. The young, unfurled leaves of some varieties can be eaten as boiled leafy vegetables or used in soups and stews, such as the Caribbean soup callaloo.

Malanga is highly hypoallergenic due to the small size of its starch molecules.Template:Plant-stub

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