Botanical Name Of Yam: What Is The Scientific Name Of Yam?

Yams, also known as Dioscorea, the botanical name of yam, are a staple food in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa and Asia. These root vegetables are known for their thick, rough, and scaly skin and starchy, slightly sweet taste. They are larger and sweeter than sweet potatoes and have a longer shelf life.

In this article, we will explore the different varieties of yams and their botanical names, as well as their characteristics, uses, and nutritional value.

Whether you are a farmer looking to grow yams or a home cook looking to incorporate this versatile vegetable into your meals, this article will provide you with all the information you need to know about yams.

What Is A Yam?

A yam is a starchy root vegetable that is a staple food in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa and Asia. It belongs to the Dioscoreaceae family, and the botanical name for yam is Dioscorea.

Characteristics Of A Yam

Yams are characterized by their thick, rough, and scaly skin, which can range in colour from brown to black. The flesh is typically white or yellow, and it has a starchy, slightly sweet taste. They are typically larger and sweeter than sweet potatoes, which are often confused with yams.

They are also more difficult to peel and have a longer shelf life. Yams typically take longer to cook than sweet potatoes and often need to be boiled before they can be fried, roasted or mashed.

They are a good source of carbohydrates and dietary fibre, as well as a number of vitamins and minerals.

What Is The Botanical Name Of Yam?

The botanical name of yam is Dioscorea spp.

Species Of Yam

Yam belongs to the genus Dioscorea, a large and diverse group of plants that includes over 600 species. Some of the most commonly cultivated species of yam include:

  • Dioscorea Dumetorum (Bitter Yam)
  • Dioscorea Alata (Water yam)
  • Dioscorea Trifida (Cush-Cush yam)
  • Dioscorea Rotundata (White yam)
  • Dioscorea Cayennensis (Yellow yam)
  • Dioscorea Polystachya (Chinese yam)
  • Dioscorea Bulbifera (Potato yam)

Types Of Yam And Their Botanical Names

There are several different types of yams, each with its own unique characteristics and uses. Some of the most common types of yams and their botanical names include:

1. Dioscorea Dumetorum

Dioscorea dumetorum is a species of yam that belongs to the Dioscoreaceae family and the Dioscorea genus. This species is also known as the bush yam or bitter yam and it is native to tropical regions of Africa, particularly West Africa.

It is a climbing vine that can grow up to 12 meters long and is characterized by its woody stem and large, green leaves. The tubers of this species are small and irregular in shape and are typically used for food.

They are considered a local food resource and are mostly consumed by the rural communities in West Africa. Dioscorea dumetorum is rich in carbohydrates, dietary fibres, and various vitamins and minerals.

2. Dioscorea Alata

Winged, Or Water, Yams (Dioscorea Alata).
Winged, Or Water, Yams (Dioscorea Alata).

Dioscorea alata, also known as winged yam, is a species of yam that belongs to the Dioscoreaceae family and the Dioscorea genus.

It is a climbing vine that is native to tropical regions of Africa and Asia. The tubers of this species are characterized by their wing-like shape and their white or yellow flesh.

They are used as a staple food in many parts of Africa and Asia and are used in a variety of dishes, including stews, soups, and curries.

They are known for their high yield potential and disease resistance. They are rich in carbohydrates, dietary fibres, and various vitamins and minerals.

3. Dioscorea Rotundata

Botanical Name Of Yam What Is The Scientific Name Of Yam

Dioscorea rotundata, also known as white yam or round yam, this type of yam has a round shape and white flesh. It is a species of yam that belongs to the Dioscoreaceae family and the Dioscorea genus.

It is a staple food in West Africa and is used in a variety of dishes, including fufu, which is a popular West African staple made from mashed yams.

The tubers of this species are round or oval-shaped and have white or pale yellow flesh. They are typically larger than other types of yams and can weigh up to 2-3 kg each.

This species is known for its high yield potential and disease resistance. Dioscorea rotundata is propagated by planting the tubers, which will produce a new plant and new tubers.

This species is a hardy crop and is tolerant to drought and poor soil conditions. It is also a very important crop for both food security and income generation for smallholder farmers in West Africa.

The tubers of Dioscorea rotundata are starchy and slightly sweet, and they are used in a variety of dishes, including fufu, which is a popular West African staple made from mashed yams.

They are also used to make a traditional West African dish called “pottage” which is a thick stew made from yam, vegetables, and protein.

Dioscorea rotundata is a good source of carbohydrates and dietary fibre, as well as a number of vitamins and minerals. It is also a rich source of energy, which makes it an essential food for many people in West Africa.

4. Dioscorea Polystachya

Chinese Yams (Dioscorea Polystachya).
Chinese Yams (Dioscorea Polystachya).

Dioscorea polystachya, also known as Chinese yam, is a species of yam that belongs to the Dioscoreaceae family and the Dioscorea genus. It is native to China and other parts of Asia and is characterized by its thin, brownish-grey skin, and its white flesh.

This species is also known as ” cinnamon vine” and “Chinese potato” due to its thin skin and the presence of a cinnamon-like odour when it is peeled.

Dioscorea polystachya is known for its high yield potential, disease resistance, and its ability to grow in a variety of environments, including rocky and rocky soils.

The tubers of this species are considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine and are often used in traditional Chinese medicine to nourish the lungs, spleen, and stomach. They are also believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

They are used in a variety of dishes, including soups, and stews, and as a thickener for sauces. They are also dried and ground into a powder that can be used to make traditional Chinese medicine or as a thickener in cooking.

Dioscorea polystachya is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibres, and various vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and phosphorus. It is also rich in antioxidants and amino acids that can help boost the immune system.

5. Dioscorea Trifida

Cush-Cush yam, also known as Dioscorea trifida, is a species of yam that belongs to the Dioscoreaceae family and the Dioscorea genus.

It is native to tropical regions of the Caribbean and is characterized by its elongated shape and its white or yellow flesh. Cush-Cush yam is known for its high yield potential, disease resistance and tolerance to drought.

It is mostly consumed by rural communities in the Caribbean and is used in a variety of dishes, including curries, soups and stews. Cush-Cush yam is a good source of carbohydrates and dietary fibres, as well as a number of vitamins and minerals.

It is also a rich source of energy, which makes it an essential food for many people in the Caribbean.

6. Dioscorea Cayenensis

Dioscorea cayenensis, also known as yellow yam or Guinea yam, is a species of yam that belongs to the Dioscoreaceae family and the Dioscorea genus. It is native to the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The tubers of this species are typically smaller than other types of yams and have yellow flesh. They are also known for their high yield potential and disease resistance.

Yellow yam is a popular food crop in the Caribbean and is used in a variety of dishes, including fried yam cakes and yam pudding. It is also commonly used to make a traditional Caribbean dish called “ashe” which is a type of starchy pudding made from grated yam.

Yellow yam is a good source of carbohydrates and dietary fibre, as well as a number of vitamins and minerals. It is also a rich source of energy, which makes it an essential food for many people in the Caribbean.

It is also considered a crop of high economic and cultural importance for smallholder farmers and rural communities in the Caribbean.

7. Dioscorea Bulbifera

Leaves And Fruits Of Air-Potato Yam (Dioscorea Bulbifera).
Leaves And Fruits Of Air-Potato Yam (Dioscorea Bulbifera).

Dioscorea bulbifera, also known as air potato or potato yam, is a species of yam that belongs to the Dioscoreaceae family and the Dioscorea genus. It is a climbing vine that is native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and parts of South America.

One of the main characteristics of this species is that it produces aerial tubers, also known as bulbils, which grow on the vine and not underground like other yam types. These bulbils can be used as a food source, and they are known to have a starchy taste.

Dioscorea bulbifera is known for its hardiness and its ability to grow in a variety of environments, including poor soil and harsh conditions. It is also considered a crop of high economic and cultural importance for smallholder farmers and rural communities in the regions where it is found.

The tubers and bulbils of this species are rich in carbohydrates, dietary fibres, and various vitamins and minerals. They are mostly consumed cooked, roasted, or mashed and are often used to make traditional dishes such as porridge or soup.

Conclusion

In conclusion, yams are an important staple food in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa and Asia.

They belong to the genus Dioscorea, which is a large and diverse group of plants that includes over 600 species. Each species of yam has its own unique characteristics and uses, and is an important part of the cultural and culinary heritage of the regions where they are grown and consumed.

Some of the most commonly cultivated species of yam include Dioscorea alata, Dioscorea rotundata, Dioscorea cayenensis, Dioscorea bulbifera, and Dioscorea trifida.

Each of these species has a botanical name that reflects its unique characteristics, such as Dioscorea alata for its wing-like shape, Dioscorea rotundata for its round shape, Dioscorea cayenensis for its yellow flesh, Dioscorea bulbifera for its aerial tubers, and Dioscorea trifida for its long, slender shape.

They are also known for their high yield potential and disease resistance. Yams are rich in carbohydrates, dietary fibers, and various vitamins and minerals, and they are a rich source of energy.

They are used in a variety of dishes, including stews, soups, curries, and traditional dishes such as fufu, pottage and ashe.

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