Max Eliot ’21: Book VII, Chapter VI (On the Plant Called Yahutia or Taro and Some of Its Particularities)

Book VII, Chapter VI

On the plant called yahutia [malanga or taro] and some of its particularities.

Translated by Max Eliot ’21

Yahutia, referred to as diahutia by others, is a very common plant, and the Indians cultivate it with great diligence and special care. The root is eaten, along with the leaves, which are like big collard leaves. The roots are the best part; they have a sort of beard which they remove and peel, and they boil them and are very good.  The leaves are a healthy food and taste much better to the Indians than to the Christians, and the Indians eat them quite often; that being said, they are not really anything special nor something to seek out needlessly, but rather something to fall back on if nothing better is to be found. The truth is that the Indians have this yahutia as a very good food and grow it in their gardens and farms.

Image: Lithograph of a taro root by Etienne Denisse published in Flore D’Amerique during the 1840s.