It is revered in the ancient Incan culture for its many medicinal purposes. According to folk belief, it is a plant known for its legendary ability to deliver energy and mental clarity

The aerial part of maca has 12 to 20 leaves and the foliage forms amat-like, creeping system of stems that grows close to the soil. The underground portion of the plant, known as the hypocotyl, is a storage organ and is the part that is used commercially. The hypocotyl can be a variety of colors, such as cream, yellow, red, purple, black; a cold climate seems to be critical for its formation or growth.

Maca is cultivated in a narrow, high-altitude zone of the Andes Mountains in Peru. Maca has one of the highest frost tolerances of any cultivated plant.