Plant Name Dioscorea hispida
Marathi: Baichandi, Bhul kand, Dukar kand.
English: Asiatic bitter yam, Intoxicating yam.
Dioscorea hispida is a twining vine, arising from tuberous roots, and reaching a length of several meters.
Stems covered with few or many short, sharp spines.
Leaves are 3-foliolate, the leaflets 12 to 20 cm long, somewhat hairy, the lateral ones oblique, oblong-ovate, the terminal one equilateral, oblong to oblong-obovate.
Flowers are small; unisexual male flowers with 6 stamens; female flowers similar to males, 3-winged, 3-celled, ovules 2 in each cell.
Fruit is a capsule, oblong and about 5 cm long. Flesh and sap of tubers are yellowish.
Habit / Habitat
Dioscorea hispida is native to India, South east Asia, China and New Guinea. Growing wild, chiefly in thickets and forests at low and medium altitudes throughout the Philippines.
Global Distribution: South and South East Asia
Indian distribution: State - Kerala, District/s: Palakkad, Kasaragode, Kollam, Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Malappuram, Thrissur, Wayanad.
Used by tribal community in Jawhar: Fruits
Method of consumption
Jawhar tribal: Fruits boiled and cooked
Despite known toxicity, in Thailand, where it is referred to as Kloi, tubers are used to make a dessert called Kao Nuew Kloi.
– In Kerala, India, tuberous herb cooked with salt, chili, tamarind and tumeric powder and used as curry
Nutritional and medicinal information
Tuber, relieves abdominal spasms and colic; fry in vegetable oil, topically apply to remove pus from wounds, clears melasma. Toxic substances such as dioscorine were found in tubers which cause palpitations, nausea, vomiting, throat irritation, sweating, blurred vision and unconsciousness.
Propagation and Storage
The climbers prefer a sunny situation on dry soil. The substrate should be gritty-sandy soil. They tolerate temperatures only above at least 1°C
Bleaching: Yellow juice from the flesh and sap of tubers is used for bleaching clothes and abaca fibers.
- Poison: Juice of tubers used in criminal poisoning. Also, used as an ingredient together with Antiaris toxicaria in the preparation of arrow poisons.
- Livestock: Tubers used as cure for myiasis of the scrotum in carabaos.