Ullucus

Ullucus is a monotypic genus in the family Basellaceae. Members of this family includes the genus Basella, which is a leafy plant used similarly to spinach in tropical Asia.


Ullucus tuberosus is one of the most important food crops of the Andean people prior to European discovery. In South America, it goes by many names; papa lisa, melloco (Ecuador), olluco (Peru), chugua (Colombia), ruba (Venezuela). There are many varieties, many of which are very colorful. Plants are typically small, some clamber on other plants. Both the tubers and leaves are edible. They should be grown as other Andean tuber crops such as Oxalis tuberosa. The photos below were taken by Nhu Nguyen.

Ullucus tuberosus, tubers, Nhu Nguyen

Ullucus tuberosus ssp. aborigineus is not an accepted name in plant databases, but we separate them here because of tuber colors and plant habit. Photo by Nhu Nguyen.

Ullucus tuberosus aborigineus, Nhu Nguyen

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Page last modified on June 26, 2013, at 01:03 PM