Mirabilis expansa - A very rare perennial South American vegetable. Mauka has been cultivated there for thousands of years. 1 metre height, by 1.5 metres width. The whole plant is edible, but being especially favoured for its edible roots being used as a vegetable. They are used in both sweet and savory dishes. The roots need to be first dried in the sun then cooked. When grown well roots can be quite large up to 40 cms long and weighing at least 500 grams. The above ground growth is frost sensitive, but the roots are hardy. Mauka grows in most moist soil types. It can also be used to feed to animals, the whole plant can be fed to them. It is enjoyed by pigs, guinea pigs, sheep and cattle. Mauka also will grow well in a good sized pot. As to the heat tolerance of the plant, I have been growing the Mauka for two years now and have found it to have good heat tolerance. At the time of writing this its 40 degrees Celsius outside and has been for three consecutive days now and the Mauka is growing in a bed in full day sun and doing very well. No leaf burning and still producing good growth. I am watering the plant once a day in the morning.
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