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Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum) potted plant, organic
Family: Nasturtium (Tropaeolaceae)
Perennial in Zones 8 to 12 where it does best at middle elevations. As a garden annual, this is a good choice for temperate gardens, where it will mature its tubers by November.
Vining perennial native to Peru and Bolivia, with flattish, palmate leaves and orange, spurred flowers. Highly desired delicate climbing vine to 8 feet, very very showy on the landscape. Tender. The production of the thin-skinned, tuberous roots is stimulated by shortening days, therefore harvested very late in the season. Tubers are used in soups, being kind to the liver and kidney, also purportedly an anaphrodisiac that gets served up when the lady of the house is feeling exhausted. When fresh, the mashua are as peppery as a Nasturtium bud, but when cooked they are mild and yummy in taste. They are particularly nice when roasted along with meats. The leaves are also edible, as are the buds and flowers. The tubers make a good pickle. Plant like a potato. Trellis. Benefits from growing in soils of relatively low fertility but good structure. In hot areas, give shade or partial shade. Hill up. Give plenty of water late in the growing season to encourage formation of tubers. Space plants 3 feet apart.
Potted Plant, Certified Organically Grown