Cassava, Yuca, Manioc


Hazard Information

Route: Ingestion     Plant Part: Roots and leaves.

Scale: High

In raw form, contain two toxic compounds. Can cause a paralytic neurological disease and chronic pancreatitis.



Common Name(s)

Cassava, Yuca, Manioc


Latin Name

Manihot esculenta



Woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge family) native to South America.

The cassava root is long and tapered, with a firm homogeneous flesh encased in a detachable rind, about 1mm thick, rough and brown on the outside. Commercial varieties can be 5 to 10 cm in diameter at the top, and around 15 cm to 30 cm long. A woody cordon runs along the root's axis. The flesh can be chalk-white or yellowish.

Annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root.


Cassava roots and leaves should not be consumed raw because they contain two cyanogenic glucosides, linamarin and lotaustralin thus are toxic in the unprocessed form.  Must be thoroughly cooked.

The so-called "sweet" (actually "not bitter") cultivars can produce as little as 20 milligrams of cyanide (CN) per kilogram of fresh roots, whereas "bitter" ones may produce more than 50 times as much (1 g/kg). Cassavas grown during drought are especially high in these toxins. A dose 40 mg of pure cassava cyanogenic glucoside is sufficient to kill a cow. It can also cause severe calcific pancreatitis in humans, leading to chronic pancreatitis.



Consumption of insufficiently processed bitter cassava may cause konzo (also called mantakassa), a paralytic neurological disease.


Growing Season

Wide harvesting window.



Apples can be sold in most supermarkets and convenience stores. Additionally; can found on their trees in orchards.