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Cassava. A South American tropical plant of the genus Manihot, especially of the species M. dulcis, or sweet cassava, which has a tuberous root from which a meal or flour is obtained that is used in some countries as a major ingredient of bread. It is also the source of tapioca starch (q.v.) which, because of its particular characteristics, is widely used in puddings and pie fillings (q.v.).