Oca, NZ Yam, Oxalis tuberosa, 5 tubers


The oca tubers having started to sprout and have to be planted ASAP. Good crop for your permaculture garden.

Oca – an Ancient Andean staple crop

It is always a good idea to grow more than one variety of staple food! Oca was a staple in the Andean highlands, for thousands of years, due to its easy propagation, and tolerance for poor soil, high altitude and harsh climates.

What is Oca?

It is a highly productive perennial plant with waxy, brightly colored tubers.  Oca can be used as a potato substitute. The skins of Oca are thin, there is no need to peel them. The upper part of the plant dies back in winter. Oca or Oxalis tuberosa is a member of the widespread Oxalidaceae family, just as the wood sorrel.

What Oca does for your Health:

It is an excellent source of carbohydrates, phosphorus and iron. Oca is significantly richer in vitamin C than potato, The amount of vitamin C found in 100 grams of oca equals to more than 60% of the daily value for vitamin C!

How to Grow Oca:

In cool areas plant oca in spring and in warm areas in the wet season. I use for most of my planting the information given at gardenate.

Plant 5 cm deep and 30 cm apart, hill like you would for potatoes. Oca is day length sensitive  and will not tuberize until there are less than 12 hours of light per day. They don’t tolerate hot sun and a hard drought certainly will kill them unless they’re well watered. The top growth is killed by frosts but tubers continue to form for a few weeks after this point.

 Oca is more perishable than potatoes, but if properly handled can be stored at room temperature for some months. Store the best tubers for propagation the next season in dry sand or sawdust, in a cool dark place.

Harvest, Storage and Cooking:

Tubers do not need covering against the light and will store  for several months. They can be fried, boiled, steamed, deep fried or roasted.

Common Names:

Some of the common names are:  papa roja, quiba, cuiba, ibias, huasisai, or ibi, macachin, miquichi, papa extranjera, timbo, apilla, apiña, batata-baroa, mandioquinha, New Zealand yam, kumara, truffette acide, Knollen-sauerklee.

Family: Caryophyllaceae

Height + Width:

Frost Hardiness: Hardy in Katoomba




Country of Origin: Eastern Cape of South Africa


Common names: African Dream Root, Undlela Ziimhlophe (White Ways/Paths), Ubulawu



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