Yucca in Costa Rica


Its scientific name is Manihot esculenta is grown in the tropical areas of America, Africa and Asia.

It is a perennial crop of 2-3 m height. The yucca is a monoecious crop, it produces male flowers (lower part of the plant) and female ones (lower part of the plant). Its flowers are found in branched bunches, the female leaves are recognizable by their shorter base than the male ones.


Depending on the type of yucca, the stem may have none, two, or three or more primary branches (the most common is a three branches). The internodes can be short (up to 8 cm), medium (8-20 cm) and long (more than 20 cm).

Cassava(yucca) roots are consumed like potatoes, however the difference is that the first one has more than 90% starch inside and the amount of proteins and fats is lower.



Cassava, mandioca or yucca is a plant from South America, exactly in Brazil (bitter yucca). Some people mention that yucca comes from the Mayan culture, 1400 years ago in Joya de Cerén (El Salvador). Its cultivation spread through the rest of Latin America (Venezuela and Colombia with sweet yucca), Asia, the Indies, even the Philippines and Taiwan. In addition, after colonization, cassava was introduced into the African coasts by people who commercialized slaves. Today, around 50% of its global production corresponds to Africa, 30% to Asia and 20% to Latin America and the Caribbean Currently this crop is found in tropical regions around the world.

plantacion de yuca

Cultivation Zones in Costa Rica:


 In Costa Rica, the region where most yucca is produced is Huetar Norte (mainly in San Carlos and Los Chiles). In addition, the Huetar Caribean region (mainly in Guacimo and Pococi.

Planting Times: In the Huetar Caribean region, this crop can be planted at any time of the year but in Huetar Norte and other locations it must be cultivated at the beginning of the rainy season.

Fresh tubers (uncooked) contain a toxic principle that is neutralized by heat. Granulomatous lesions have been described upon contact of the starch with wounds.




The most produced in Costa Rica are “Valencia” and “Señorita”. The first one has greater demand in the national and international market and is also produced for family consumption. There are also other varieties that are produced on a smaller scale, such as the Mangí, Brazilian varieties and those with yellow pulp.

Señorita variety is characterized by elongated yuccas, which are used to produce flakes. However, this type of cassava must be consumed quickly after harvesting because it stops a very short period of oxidation and can be damaged in a very short time.

cassava plantation


1- Recognized medicinal properties: in the dermatologist part it serves as an antipruritic.

2-This crop allows its full use, the stem works for its vegetative propagation, its leaves to produce flours and the reserve roots for consumption in food which is used in different dishes.



1- Mange or super elongation of yucca (Sphaceloma manihoticola): It occurs most frequently in the rainy season. It starts in the epidermis and then penetrates the crop affecting the gibberellins and causing exaggerated growth.



2- Brown spot of the leaf (Cercospora henningsii): It is one of the most important diseases of this crop. They are reddish-brown spots, with an irregular structure and their edges surrounded by a yellow color.

3- White leaf spot (Phaeoramularia manihotis) May cause defoliation. The lesions are small, circular or angular, white or brownish-yellow.


  • Jobotos pests or blind hen (Phyllophaga sp.) They are found in the soil or in the upper part of decomposing organic matter. They are white and brown head larvae, they have three pairs of legs.
  • Lagocheirus obsoletus: This insect deposits the eggs under the bark of the stems and the branches of the plants take 2 months to develop and its attack even cause the death of the crop.
  • Taltuza (Geomydae sp.) It is an animal that builds tunnels in the plantations and eats the roots, inclusively they enter it to their tunnels making them disappear of the surface.
hoja de yuca
Hectares of Yucca sown in Costa Rica (2015)
It has been cultivated for about 4000 years
millions of families survive through yucca nowadays
% of the foliage can be maintained in the dry season.

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