Tacca leontopetaloides Seeds
Common Name: Polynesian Arrowroot
Wow! What a sight! Tacca leontopetaloides is a species of flowering plant in the yam family Dioscoreaceae, which is native to tropical Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, northern Australia, New Guinea, Samoa, Micronesia, and Fiji. Common names include Polynesian Arrowroot, Pia (Hawaii, French Polynesia, Niue, and Cook Islands), Masoa (Samoa), Mahoa (Tonga), Yabia (Fiji) Gapgap (Guam) and Taka (Indonesia). The tubers of Polynesian Arrowroot contain starch, making it an important food source for many Pacific Island cultures, primarily for the inhabitants of low islands and atolls. Polynesian arrowroot was prepared into a flour to make a variety of puddings. The tubers were first grated and then allowed to soak in fresh water. The settled starch was rinsed repeatedly to remove the bitterness and then dried. The flour was mixed with mashed taro, breadfruit, or Pandanus fruit extract and mixed with coconut cream to prepare puddings. In Hawaii, a local favorite is haupia, which was originally made with pia flour, coconut cream and kÅÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ (cane sugar). Today, Polynesian arrowroot has been largely replaced by cornstarch. The starch was additionally used to stiffen fabrics, and on some islands, the stem's bast fibres were woven into mats. In traditional Hawaiian medicine the raw tubers were eaten to treat stomach ailments. Mixed with water and red clay, the plant was consumed to treat diarrhea and dysentery. This combination was also used to stop internal hemorrhaging in the stomach and colon and applied to wounds to stop bleeding.
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