Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cassava, the starch obtained from the large fleshy roots of the euphorbiaceous Manihot utilissima, the bitter cassava, and M. Aipi, the sweet cassava - both natives of tropical America, where they are largely cultivated. Both are shrubby plants, the former with yellow poisonous roots and seven-lobed leaves, the latter with reddish wholesome roots and five-lobed leaves. The coarsely-grated roots are baked into cassava cakes, from which the intoxicating drink piwarrie is prepared by mastication, fermentation, and boiling. The juice of the poisonous kind is rendered harmless by boiling, and is then the delicious sauce known as cassareep. If allowed to settle, it deposits a large quantity of starch, known as Brazilian arrowroot when simply sun-dried, or as tapioca when partly converted into dextrine by roasting on hot plates. About 83 per cent. of tapioca is pure starch.