Chupasangre is cataloged on "The Ark of Taste", a world wide catalog of endangered foods that are deemed peculiar to a distinct ethnicity or geographic region, they are basically heritage foods. The Ark of Taste strives to maintain foods on its venue by encouraging their cultivation and consumption. Promoting the cultivation and consumption of these sustainable and endangered foods helps to preserve biodiversity in the human food chain..
Chupasangre [Chupa Sangre] Cactus is a perennial Cataceae family plant. Its native habitat is South America - Argentina, Chile, Peru and Bolivia. It grows up to 3 feet high sometimes a tad more. The stubby oval branches are about 2.5 inches long with light brown spines that can exceed 4 inches in length. Bell shaped yellow flowers appear in December and January followed by fleshy cylindrical fruits containing seeds encased in soft velvety layer. The roots are also edible, they are generally peeled and eaten raw or cooked. They have a consistency similar to a potatoes and are a traditional meal of the indigenous people.
The Chupasangre was never sold commercially on any relevant scale which is one reason it is an endangered food. Culinary knowledge among the Mapuche Indians of the chupasangre is fading in recent years, with smaller percentages of indigenous people retaining the ancestral knowledge or interest in how to harvest and prepare this heritage food. In North America Zones 4 and 5 are suitable to growing Chupa Sangre