Sunday, January 15, 2012
Yucca Root is NOT Edible
I was recently at a local grocery store and I saw that they had a sign saying "yucca root" for sale. Someone had made a mistake and labeled this root as yucca when it was actually yuca with one "c". Yuca is another name for cassava which is a potato-like root that is cultivated in tropical regions throughout the world. Yuca (cassava) and yucca (yucca louisans) are not the same plant. The root of yucca (yucca louisans) contains a high concentration of saponin. Saponin is an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, lathering agent. In other words, it is soap. If you eat yucca root you will get sick as a dog.
I can't help but wonder how many people saw that sign in the grocery store and thought, "Hey, I have yucca plants growing around my house. I think I'll dig up a root and try it."
So far as I know the only part of a yucca plant that is edible are the young flowers which I have read can be used in salads. I've never tried this personally so I can't verify that this is true.
The yucca is an incredibly useful plant. You can use it to make fire starting tools, you can use the dried leaves for tinder, you can use the roots and leaves to make soap, you can use the leaves to make cordage, you can make yucca leaf baskets, you can make hats and sandals from yucca leaves, but, you CANNOT eat yucca. So don’t try it; you won’t like it.