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Home » Crop of the Week Archive » Cañihua (Chenopodium pallidicaule, Chenopodiaceae)

Cañihua is a native grain of Peru and Bolivia, which is supremely adapted to the high altitudes of the altiplano, the Andean plain that harbors Lake Titicaca. During most of its growth, the plant displays bright colors, and fields can be identified from afar. The grain has excellent protein quality (as other chenopods) and outstanding iron content. Seed shattering as shown in the inlet is a major production problem suggesting that cañihua is a semi-domesticate. Yields are very low (<300kg/ha) but at altitudes as in the pictured site (3900 masl), poor farmers have limited cropping options.

Cañihua at Atuncolla near Sillustani Juliaca

Cañihua (Chenopodium pallidicaule)

Cañihua at Atuncolla near Sillustani Juliaca