Tapioca (/ˌtæpɪˈoʊkə/; Portuguese pronunciation: [tapiˈɔkɐ]) is a starch extracted from cassava root (Manihot esculenta). This species is native to the northeast region of Brazil, but its use spread throughout South America. The plant was carried by Portuguese and Spanish explorers to most of the West Indies and Africa and Asia. It is a tropical, perennial shrub that is less commonly cultivated in temperate climate zones. Cassava thrives better in poor soils than many other food plants.
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Tapioca is a starch extracted from the root of the plant species manihot esculenta. This species, native to the Amazon, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Venezuela is now cultivated worldwide and has many names, including cassava, bitter-cassava and manioc.