Lepidium Meyenii, Peruvian Ginseng Seed, Peru Maca Ma Ka
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Lepidium Meyenii < 玛卡 Ma Ka >
Common Name: Peruvian Ginseng, Peru Maca, Maca-maca, Maino, Ayak Chichira, Ayak Willku
Binomial name: Lepidium Meyenii
Lepidium meyenii, known commonly as Peruvian Ginseng or maca, is an herbaceous biennial plant of the crucifer family native to the high Andes of Peru around Lake Junin. It is grown for its fleshy hypocotyl (a fused hypocotyl and taproot), which is used as a root vegetable, a medicinal herb, and an aphrodisiac. Its Spanish and Quechua names include maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira, and ayak willku. The growth habit, size, and proportions of maca are roughly similar to those of the radish and the turnip, to which it is related. The green, fragrant tops are short and lie along the ground. The thin, frilly leaves sprout in a rosette at the soil surface, not growing more than 12 to 20 cm in height. The leaves show a dimorphism according to reproductive stage. They are more prominent in the vegetative phase, and are continuously renewed from the center as the outer leaves die. The off-white, self-fertile flowers are borne on a central raceme, and are followed by 4– to 5-mm siliculate fruits, each containing two small (2.0-2.5 mm) reddish-gray ovoid seeds.
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