is a genus of flowering plants in the family Dioscoreaceae, native
throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions of the world.
tuberous herbaceous perennial lianas, growing to 2-12 m or more tall. The
leaves are spirally arranged, mostly broad heart-shaped.
flowers are individually inconspicuous, greenish-yellow, with six petals;
they are mostly dioecious, with
separate male and female plants, though a few species are monoecious, with male
and female flowers on the same plant.
Yam is the
common name for some species in the genus Dioscorea.
- The yam-based
intercrop is generally cultivated at the start of the crop rotation
following a variable number of seasons in fallow in order to assure
maximum potential for yam development and yield. Stakes are used for plant
support and development.
- Yam is harvested
twice during its growth cycle. The first harvest begins 6 to 10 months
after planting (September-December). It is a non-destructive harvest where
the mounds remain intact.
- Wild yam has been
used for menstrual cramps and discomfort, rheumatoid arthritis, stomach
cramps and pain from gallstones.
Dioscorea composita and D. floribunda are good sources
of diosgenin. Tubers of Diosgenin occurs in glycoside form and it is used
as a starting material for synthesis of cortisone and other corticosteroid
- The tropical yam (Dioscorea alata) should not
be confused with sweet potato, which is sometimes called ‘yam’ in the
United States. Its consumption by various ethnic groups (African,
Caribbean, Latin American and Asian) has helped extend its trade to the
major industrialized countries.
- Yams are exported to the US on a year-round
- Costa Rica claims the majority of the US
market for yams. Jamaica and Ghana are the other major suppliers of yams
to the United States.
- Yam prices vary sharply by variety.
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