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Plant Name        Dioscorea esculenta       

                Common name:               Lesser Yam        

                Marathi:                              God kanda/ Karanda     

                English:                                Lesser yam, Chinese yam                            


Identification guide


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.              


Edible parts

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

Pharmaceutical significance

 Literature review:

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

 Edible: Monsoon 

 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.



Kingdom:            Plantae

Division:              Spermatophyta

Sub-division:       Angiospermae

Class:                    Monocotyledonae

Order:                   Epigynae

Family:                 Dioscoreaceae

Genus:                 Dioscorea

Species:               esculenta









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