Cassava is a tall semiwoody perennial shrub or tree with big palmately compound leaves.
It is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root. Unfortunately, the plant contains high levels of cyanide in the form of hydrocyanic acid, and this must be removed before the root can be eaten. This can be done by peeling the root, being sure to remove all of the purple outer layer, and then boiling in at least one change of water. There is a bitter, poisonous- and a sweet, - nonpoisonous variety of cassava; however the skin stays poisonous and the sweet variety should be peeled.
At times, it is mistakenly referred to as Yucca, which is a non-edible plant from the Agave plant family.