I recently ordered a grocery delivery from Whole Foods, and as I was ordering I noticed they had rutabagas, which I've never had before, so I decided to try them. What I got was this:

an unknown vegetable

They don't look anything like any picture I can find online of rutabagas, which are supposed to look like a large turnip. Instead, these appear to be some sort of yam. (That is, an actual yam, not a sweet potato, which for some reason is commonly called a yam in the US!)

Adding to the confusion, they appear to be coated with a thick layer of wax. I googled vegetables covered with wax, and all that shows up is lots of pages about rutabagas! Rutabagas, it turns out, are commonly waxed to keep them from drying out. I can't find any information about waxed yams, though. So, what are these things?

  • 10
    They're definitely not rutabagas. Other than that, I've got nuttin'.
    – Marti
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 17:31
  • Not a Yam. Not a Sweet Potato. A lot of confusion comes from Sweet Potatoes being sold in cans as "Yams", How to Tell the Difference
    – elbrant
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 0:53
  • 1
    Ok folks, normally we don't delete suppose answered oh a question, because sometimes a different word explanation gets the information across better. But here, we have many people who simply state the same thing as the first answer. If you agree with an existing answer, just upvote. Only post an answer of your iwn if it has relevant information missing from existing answers.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 8:39
  • @Marti Yeah, I'm not Gordon Ramsay or anything, but those are definitely not Rutabagas
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 15:01
  • Bite it, what does it taste like?
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 20:47

4 Answers 4


It really looks like cassava. Are you in the U.S.? Can you call the Whole Foods that prepared your order to confirm this vegetable? You can Google "cassava," and "rutabaga," and see the clear differences between vegetables... yours looks like the former, while rutabagas look like balls of white and pink (like beets). Also, be sure to look up how to cook/prepare cassava. Hope it goes well!


  • 1
    You're right, this is definitely cassava. I'll go look up how to prepare it safely!
    – Josh
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 23:56

It looks like it could be yuca/cassava, based on the appearance alone. (Note: this is not the same as or related to yucca.) The picture on Wikipedia even shows a waxed version.


  • 10
    Looks like it ! Where I live we call them manioc Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 20:28
  • 6
    A note - Cassava can be rather poisonous if not prepared correctly. I would recommend being at least somewhat familiar with it before haphazardly adding it to your dinner. Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 22:16
  • 3
    @MikeTheLiar Cassava sold whole and in a grocery store is overwhelmingly likely to be sweet cassava, which isn't (significantly) poisonous.
    – Sneftel
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 8:57
  • 4
    Yes that's yuca. Albeit some amazonian varieties are poisonous and require a special preparation, the variety available in stores is not. To prepare, just remove the skin, cut the body on pieces and cook it, in a similar way to potatoes. Fried yuca is very nice as well.
    – aizquier
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 16:09
  • 2
    Cassava. I'm from Argentina, we call this mandioca. It's used pretty much like potatoes in the north of the country. It's a bit more fibrous. You'll find some long fibers in my grandma's mashed mandioca. It can also be fried or baked.
    – istepaniuk
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 18:59

It is definitely not a rutabaga or taro and is likely not a yam either.
It is most likely a cassava tuber.
Rutabaga is much rounder and is usually tinted pink; regular taro is also quite rounded.
Giant taro on the other hand does bear a passing resemblance however it has concentric ring s rather than longitudinal cracks.
Yams have a more rounded end at least on one end.


It looks like taro root to me, if it's purple inside it probabls is.


  • 3
    Sorry but that's not it. Taro is a short root, even the texture is different. That in the question is clearly a cassava root.
    – Luciano
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 10:58
  • I have seen short round taro, but I have also seen taro in the same shape as pictured above. and the texture looks the same to me. Did you visit my link?
    – Brian
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 18:33
  • I visited your link. Trust me, in real life they look very different, I've had both cassava and taro many times. Also when you cut them open they're clearly different.
    – Luciano
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 10:32

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