Xanthosoma sagittifolium (L.) SCHOTT.

Nota de alcance (en)


Xanthosoma is a neotropical genus, native to the American tropics.

Historical backround

Xanthosoma cultivars were selected from several American wild species many thousand years ago.There are, however, no archaeological remains, due to the quick decomposition of organic matter in the rainforests (BRUCHER 1989).


West Indies and South America. Much cultivated in the tropics of the Old and New World.

Ethnobotanical and general use

Nutritional use

The edible parts are young leaves and the tubers. The young leaves are cooked and eaten like spinach. Young shoots together with the stem are eaten as a vegetable called 'chou des caraibes' in the West Indies. The tubers which have a high starch content (27% to 39% of the fresh weight) likewise serve as a food. But as they contain acrid substances and alkaloids, these have to be destroyed first by heat. For this reason, the tubers must not be eaten raw; the needle-shaped raphides of calcium oxalate irritate the tongue; but additionally these crystal cells contain acrid substances of unknown nature which provoke local irritations. From the principal rhizome, filamentous roots and tubers arise which are eaten. The tubers are of high caloric value with 26-39% carbohydrate content. Furthermore they contain up to 3.7% protein, fat, fiber, calcium, phosphor, tiamine, riboflavine, niacin, Vitamins A and C, and up to 35.19 f,lg folic acid. The tubers are cooked or roasted and used like potatoes, or are eaten in soup , or as pancakes. Medical use Leaf and rhizome are used. Leaf The sap of the leaf is applied for fungal infections of the skin.

Healing properties

Wound healing, emollient.

Chemical contents

Calcium oxalate in the crystals, mucilage in the raphide cells, tannins in the laticifers, acrid substances of unknown nature.

Nota bibliográfica (en)

South American medicinal plants : botany, remedial properties, and general use / I. Roth, H. Lindorf. Berlin ; New York : Springer, c2002. -- p. 492.

Xanthosoma sagittifolium (L.) SCHOTT.
Término aceptado: 16-Dic-2016