Mauka (Mirabilis expansa)
Mauka is an ancient Andean root vegetable that is probably one of the rarest crop plants in the world. We don’t describe things as “rare” all that often, but mauka seems to qualify; it was unknown to science until the late 1960s, with so little remaining in cultivation that it was at risk of extinction. Mauka is a perennial plant that makes thick edible roots and stems over the course of 2-3 years. Leaves are also used as a salad green. Unlike many of the Andean root crops, mauka produces and grows easily from seeds.