Lepidium meyenii (maca) is an herbaceous biennial plant of the crucifer family native to the high Andes of Peru. It was found at the Meseta of BomBom close to Junin Lake in the Andes. It is grown for its fleshy hypocotyl (a fused hypocotyl and taproot), which is used as a root vegetable and a medicinal herb. Its Spanish and Quechua names include maca-maca, maino, ayak chichira, and ayak willku.Maca is the only member of its genus with a fleshy hypocotyl, which is fused with the taproot to form a rough inverted pear-shaped body. Maca does vary greatly in the size and shape of the root, which may be triangular, flattened circular, spherical, or rectangular, the latter of which forms the largest roots. Maca hypocotyls may be gold or cream, red, purple, blue, black, or green. Each is considered a "genetically unique variety", as seeds of the parent plants grow to have roots of the same color. Recently, specific phenotypes (in maca, 'phenotype' pertains mainly to root color) have been propagated exclusively to ascertain their different nutritional and therapeutic properties.Cream-colored roots are the most widely grown and are favored in Peru for their enhanced sweetness and size.