Plant Name Dioscorea esculenta
Common name: Lesser Yam
Marathi: God kanda/ Karanda
English: Lesser yam, Chinese yam
Lesser yam is a perennial, climbing plant producing annual stems about 3 metres long from a tuberous rootstock. These stems scramble over the ground, or twine into the surrounding vegetation
Thin, vary from smooth to prickly, twine clockwise direction,
Alternate, pointed at the tip, lobed at the base
Each stolon bears one tuber, 5 -20 tubers per plant, light yellow in colour
Fibrous, swollen ends of stolon arise from the crown of the plant
Habit / Habitat
It is an herbaceous spiny vine
It requires tropical conditions and high temperatures to survive. The soil should have good drainage property and high level of organic matter."
1) The plant is species is native to India, Vietnam and Philippines. It has been domesticated in China and is less used in South-east Asia.
World wide use Root
Used by tribal community in Jawhar Tuber
Method of consumption
Jawhar tribal Tubers are boiled and cooked as vegetable
Nutritional and medicinal information
A study conducted on the phenolic content of the root crop showed that D esculenta is a rich source of phenolic compounds with antioxidant property. (Manickam Murugan, Veerabahu Ramasamy Mohan, 2012)
A study investigated antifertility effects of ethanol extract of Dioscorea esculenta tuber on male rats. The result concluded that the treatment inhibited sperm concentration, motility and testosterone which might result in a male fertility. ((V.R.Mohan et al, 2011)
Screening of the tuber mucilage of D. esculenta showed antibacterial activity against human pathogens. (A. Thajunnisha Begum and S. Anbazhakan, 2013)
Harvesting and preserving
A dioecious species, both male and female plants need to be grown if seed is required.
Propagation and Storage
Season of collection
How to grow it?
Cuttings of tubers are planted below the surface of the ground
Method of storage
1) Propagules: Tuber is kept in sun for few hours and stored in a dry place until the season of cultivation.
2) Edibles: Tubers are stored in a dry place for over a period of 2-3 months after harvest.