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Lepidium meyenii

SynonymsLepidium affine, Lepidium gelidum, Lepidium peruvianum, Lepidium weddellii
Common namesayak chichira, ayuk willku, maca, maca-maca, mace, maino, maka, pepper grass, pepper weed, pepperweed, Peruvian ginseng
Ecocrop code7220

BRIEF DESCRIPTION A herbaceous, matelike plant reaching 12-20 cm in height. It has succulent roots and short and decumbent stems. The hypocotyls, which are the edible part of the plant, vary between 2-5 cm in size and may have a variety of colours. USES The hypocotyl can be roasted, dried and boiled or used for juices, coctails, porridges and jams. It is also prepared in tabloid form and eaten because of its nutritionel value and because it is believed to stimulate sexual appetite and increase fertility. KILLING T -20°C. Frosts down to -10°C are common throughout the growing season. GROWING PERIOD Matlike perennial. The roots are harvested 180-210 days after planting. However, under harsh conditions the plant may require up to 270 days to mature. Production of seed takes an additional 150-180 days. COMMON NAMES Maca, Peruvian ginseng, Pepper grass, Pepper weed, Maka, Maca-maca, Maino, Atak, Chichira, Ayak willku. FURTHER INF Maca is native of southern Peru. It can in the Andean mountains be found at elevations from 3500 to 4500 m. Survive violent winds and chilling colds. Yields may be from 2-3 t/ha to 15-16 t/ha depending on growing conditions and management of the crop.
SOURCES (L. meyenii Walpers)
Vietmeyer N 1989 pp 57-65 [FER, LIG, RAIN, KTMP, TEMP, TEXT]
Bermejo J 1994 pp 165-168 [USE, FER, TEMP, PHO]