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The stems of the Tapioca plant are woody and slender with leaves extending from the apex of the stems. The palm-like leaves are splayed out from a central point and are variable in size, color, number and overall shape of leaves. Typically there are 5 to 7 lobes that each contain a light green-yellow central vein that runs from the stem down the length of each leaf. It is best to consume young, tender leaves. Tapioca leaves have a mild flavor, similar to spinach.
Fresh Tapioca leaves are available year-round.
The Tapioca plant is botanically classified as Manihot esculenta and is also commonly known as Yucca or Cassava. Tapioca leaves must be cooked before consuming and traditionally are treated like other cooking greens standing up to boiling and braising.