Tapioca plant | Manihot esculenta

Tapioca is a tuber crop extensively grown in Kerala State and parts of Tamil Nadu. Out of three species
M. esculenta is most commonly cultivated in India.


Local  name: Tapioca

Tapioca (/ˌtæpiˈoʊkə/; Portuguese: [tapiˈɔkɐ]) is a starch extracted from cassava root (Manihot esculenta). This species is native to the northeast region of Brazil,[1] but its use spread throughout South America. The plant was carried by Portuguese and Spanish explorers to most of the West Indies and Africa and Asia. It is a tropical, perennial shrub that is less commonly cultivated in temperate climate zones. Cassava thrives better in poor soils than many other food plants.

Annual production of tapioca in India is estimated at

4.5 million tonnes. At the time of harvest, generally the tuber is harvested and the leaves are thrown away.

Nutritive value

Tapioca leaves are a rich source of protein having a DCP value of 8.3% and TDN value of 45.5% of   dry


Tapioca plant | Manihot esculenta


leaves. When fed to growing calves 2.27 kg of partially dried tapioca leaves could replace 0.68 kg of groundnut cake. Tapioca leaf meal also gives good results in feeding of lactating cows.

Deleterious factors

So far, tapioca leaves were not fed to cattle due to presence  of hydrocyanic  acid (HCN).  The HCN content is the minimum when the plants are five months of age. The tapioca leaf meal contains 7.58 mg of HCN per 100 g of material. At an intake level of 0.5-0.8% of body weight, it does not bring about any adverse  effect.