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a genus of plants of the family Euphorbiaceae. They are small monoecious trees, shrubs, and herbs with diclinous flowers. There are more than 160 species in tropical America. Cassava (Manihot esculentd) is grown for food in the tropical zones of both hemispheres. It is a rapidly growing bush, measuring up to 3 m tall and having alternate, deeply palmatisect leaves. The small flowers are in long panicles. The fruit is a capsule. The tuberous roots measure up to 1 m long, weigh up to 15 kg, and contain 20 to 40 percent starch. Flour and tapioca are made from the roots. A poisonous glycoside contained in the roots is removed when the roots are dried, washed, and cooked. Sweet cassava (M. dulcis) also contains a small amount of the glycoside. All species of Manihot contain a milky sap. Of the several rubber-bearing species, the ceara rubber (M. glaziovii) has the greatest commercial significance. It is a short tree (up to 12 m high), with three- to five-lobed shield-shaped leaves. It grows in arid regions in Brazil and is cultivated in arid regions of India and East Africa.
REFERENCESiniagin. I. I. Tropicheskoe zemledelie. Moscow, 1968.
V. N. GLADKOVA