"If you don't eat your yuca and yautia, you'll never grow up."
§ Home § Search § FoodTales § Any comments?
Also called yautia or tannia, this plant is part of the arum lily family, like its better known cousin taro...but this is native to the New World, unlike the rest of the family, and was a significant part of the pre-Columbian diet of highland Central America. When Spaniards arrived in the West Indies, it was one of the first plants they wrote about. But, natch, it's confusing, with some 40 different species. Likely the plant started out in South America and traveled to the Caribbean with Taino (Arawak) and Carib tribes...then migrated to West Africa during the slave trade.
The starchy tubers--mainly from Xanthosoma sagittifolium--are used like potatoes and now are a staple food in West Africa. Its leaves--from X. atrovirens or X. brailiense--are popularly used in the Caribbean soup Callaloo.