A total of 98 Manihot species have been recognized in the genus. All of them are native to the tropics of the New World, particularly Brazil and Mexico. The cultigen, Manihot esculenta Crantz (cassava), grows throughout the lowland tropics. Wild species vary in growth habit from acaulescent or short shrubs to tree-like. Because of their adaptations to different conditions, they are gene reservoirs for tackling many abiotic and biotic stresses such as improving root quality and resistance to diseases.