Lepidium meyenii is an herbaceous, low-growing, rosette-like plant of frilly leaves with an enlarged tuberous fleshy underground organ formed by the taproot and the lower part of the hypocotyl. The plant grows to a height of 10-20cm. It's root is 3-5cm in diameter and 15 cm in circumference at the widest point. Authorities do not agree whether the plant is a biennial or perennial plant. The plant matures about 8 months after planting.
Above the ground, there is a rosette of from twelve to twenty basal leaves, roughly elliptical in outline, fornmd by a flat and fleshy rhachis, with minute lobes distally arranged. The basal lobes are elliptic, entire, 4-8 ram. long and 1-1.5 ram. wide; the medium and upper lobes are deeply dissected, 8-12 ram. long. There is a continuous production of new leaves at the center of the rosette.
Maca has been cultivated on a large scale, which can control the quality of maca while increasing production.
The Flower of Maca
The floral axis is short and branched, 3-5 cm. long, with entire or crenate leaves. The whitish flowers are about 5 ram. long, on slender pedicels.
The Root of Maca
Below the ground, the central axis is a fleshy structure, similar in general shape to a 'Red Globe' radish hut ending in a thick and strong root, with numerous lateral rootlets. The upper part of the axis is of conical shape, slightly prominent at the top at the insertion of the leaves; it measures up to 5 cm. wide and 3 era. long, and its color varies from light purple to yellowish. About half its leng'th, it shows two irregular areas where the feeding roots come out, alternating with smooth areas.
The Dry Roots of Maca
Until now people already recognize four types of the root of Maca, according to the color of the root: cream-yellow; half purple; purple; and black.According to the study, the black root of the best efficacy, followed by purple, yellow the worst.
The nutritional value of the dry Maca root is very high, similar to that of rice and wheat. It contains 60% to 75% of carbohydrates, 10% to 14% of protein, and 8.5% of dietary fiber, and 2.2% of fat. Maka is rich in calcium and potassium, contains a small amount of sodium, but also contains trace elements called iron, iodine, copper, manganese and zinc, as well as certain fatty acids, including linolenic acid, palmitic acid and oleic acid, and 19 kinds of amino acids.
The Products of Maca
A range of products has come out. Including Maca slices, Maca powder and capsule.Because of its declared effects on fertility, Maca was given significant commercial value and scientific value over the past few decades. In the 1990s, a large amount of available arable land was used to grow Maca. With the rise in demand, product prices are also rising.