Mashua, also commonly known as añu, is a tuber-forming relative of the nasturtium, grown for thousands of years as a food crop in the Andes. The plant looks much like the common garden nasturtium. It can be grown on flat ground, but likes to climb and will grow up to 10 feet if given the opportunity. Produces a lot of red/orange flowers in the fall, when little else is blooming, and will be mobbed by Anna’s hummingbirds if you have them in your area. All parts are edible. Raw, it has a complex flavor that is difficult to describe, other than to say that it finishes hot, like mustard or horseradish. Cooked, it has a flavor and texture similar to turnip.
As with most of the Andean tuber crops, varieties are propagated from tubers, just like the potato. True seeds are used primarily for breeding.