Yacón or Smallanthus Sonchifolius is a perennial plant
grown in the Andes. It is known for its crisp, sweet-tasting
tuberous root. The texture and flavour have been described as
a blend between a fresh apple and watermelon. It has recently
been introduced into farmer's markets and natural food stores
in the US.
The plant produces two types of roots: propagation roots
and storage roots. Propagation roots grow just under the soil
surface and produce new growing points that will become next
year's aerial parts. Storage roots are large and edible.
These edible roots contain insulin, giving it a sweet flavour
and making Yacon highly recommended for diabetic patients.
Yukon plants can grow up to 2 meters in height and produce
small, yellow inconspicuous flowers at the end of the growing
season. Unlike many other root vegetables domesticated by
the Incas (ulluco, oca), the Yacón is not photoperiod
sensitive, and can produce a commercial yield in the tropics.