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The insecticidal, nematocidal, bactericidal, pharmacological, and other medicinal effects should be investigated. These might prove useful in practice.

Because it yields so prodigiously, mashua may be suited for industrial production of starch. Needed are analyses of the kinds of starch it contains and the amounts that might be produced under field, regional, and national conditions.

Selection for varieties with low levels of glucosinolates should be attempted.


Botanical Name Tropaeolum tuberosum Ruiz & Pavón

Family Tropaeolaceae (nasturtium family)

Common Names

Quechua: mashua, añu, apiñu, apiña-mama, yanaoca (black oca)

Aymara: isau, issanu, kkayacha

Paez (southern Colombia): puel

Spanish: mashua (or majua, mafua, mauja, maxua), mashuar, añú, anyú (Peru); cubios, navios, navo (Colombia); isaño, isañu, apilla (Bolivia); ysaño (South America)

English: mashua, anu

Origins. Mashua has been cultivated since ancient times and its tubers show up in many archeological sites. The ancestral plant is uncertain. Weedy types are common in moist, wooded, brushy areas around 3,000 m elevation in Peru and Ecuador and may be representative of the ancestral type. Mashua may have originated in the same regions as the potato, but even today it is virtually unknown outside Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador.

Description. Mashua is a perennial, herbaceous, semiprostrate climber occasionally reaching above 2 m in height. Both erect and prostrate forms are known. It has circular, peltate, 3- to 5-lobed leaves, and glabrous, twining stems that attach themselves to other plants by tactile petioles.

The long-stalked, solitary, axial, bisexual, occasionally double flowers (favored by birds and insects) are orange to scarlet in color. Smaller than those of the garden nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus), they are borne profusely.

The fruit (schizocarp) has 3–4 lobes that contain joined seeds lacking endosperm. The abundant, viable seeds separate at maturity.

The tubers vary in color from white to yellow. Occasionally, the

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