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Fruits & Vegetables Week: Dioscorea alata from Delhi, Asiatic Yam:
Dioscorea alata L., the Asiatic Yam or Greater Yam, a widely cultivated yam, the tubers are ground into meal, also used as vegetable.

Local names
Sanskrit: Pindalu
Hindi & Beng: Chupri alu, khamalu
Tel: Pendalamu
Tam: Perumvalli kizhangu
Kan: Onthalaigasu, tung-genasu
Mal: Kanchchilkilangu, kaavathu
Assam: Katalu, ractaguranialu
Bomb: Goradu:


Dioscorea alata:
Photographed on my property at Shahapur [dead centre in photograph 1, D.bulbifera is to it’s left]. It was planted.
D. alata can be mistaken for D.bulbifera [plenty of my photographs of which are available in the archives of this group]. According to Dr. Almeida’s ‘Flora of Maharashtra’, one of the main differences between the 2 is that in the former the “stem climbs to the right” [in a clockwise direction – photographs 8 & 9], whereas in the latter, the “stem climbs to the left” [in an anti-clockwise direction].
Also seen are the characteristic 4 – winged / 4 – angled stems [photographs 5 & 6], often with ‘bulb-like’ tubers [photographs 6 & 7].
Spoke to Dr. Almeida – this plant does not occur in the wild but is cultivated as the “most esteemed yam of Europeans”. As it is an exotic, I will be destroying it. Also don’t think that … plant posted a few days ago is D. alata.

Nice to see pictures of this Yam.
This is the one that is Purple from inside?
Sorry to know that you will be destroying it.
I would have loved to grow it in our Nasik garden.
Please do not destroy it.


Dioscorea alata L. from Hooghly:
This plant seems to be the same as in … post at efi thread. But it was impossible to ascertain whether it was a left twiner or a right twiner.

H & H : wild twiner inside a boundary wall, having said thus this does not imply that it was not wild
Date : 29/10/12, 10.05 a.m.
Place : Hooghly

In Photograph 7 it is clearly seen twining around to the right in a clockwise direction. A simple exercise would be to try it yourself with 2 strings and 2 sticks.

Thank you …, I have noted the pic no. 7 (6080,jpg), but had some confusion, for FoP does not have D. alata and D. bulbifera is clockwise in FoP, but “”twining to left” in FoC.

Root Vegetable For ID : Purple : Mumbai : 030514 : AK-7 : 6 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (3).
Another root vegetable seen in Mumbai which is purple from inside.
Pictures taken on 19/4/14.
Would like to know the id please.

It looks like sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas)

Dioscorea sp

Thanks … Images on searching look like Dioscorea alata, Purple Yam. …, doesn’t seem to be Sweet Potato.

Ok thank you. Are they the bulbils or the tubers of Dioscorea alata? There are two types of storage organs.

Nobody here sells yam in markets/bazaar. And sweet potato with its varied coloured skin can also look pretty same. Since it is from Mumbai I am not sure. However, D alata var. purpurea meets the criteria, description attached herewith.
The question is how long a purple yam can be stored in open air?


Climber For ID : Lalbagh,Bangalore : 310714 : AK-46 : 8 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (2).
Climber seen at Lalbagh on 28/7/14.
Cultivated, ornamental plant.
No flowers.

Dioscorea alata.

Many thanks for the id of this Climber from Lalbagh.

Edible yam: Dioscorea alata


For me this looks like a Dioscorea species.




Delhi University Botanical Garden, Delhi– May’10?; at Mohali (punjab); Dioscorea oppositifolia from Delhi – efloraofindia | Google Groups ID this twiner – efloraofindia | Google Groups

SK 2194 23 September 2019 : 9 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (2) – 3 & 4 mb.

Location: Bindhabasini, Indra Daha, Kathmandu
Altitude: 1737 m.
Date: 18 August 2019
Habit : Wild
Which Dioscorea ??

Attachments (2) – 1 & 5 mb.

Attachments (1)- 6 mb.

… recently pointed out many type of leaves in this species.
Leaves alternate basally on stem, opposite distally on stem, simple; petiole green or purplish red, 4–15 cm; leaf blade green or purplish red, ovate, 6–15(–20) × 4–13 cm, papery, glabrous, base sagittate to deeply cordate, apex shortly acuminate or caudate.
Pl. also see high resolution specimens at GBIF

These look like typical cultivated D. alata.

Twining direction I noted is anticlockwise in D. alata, clockwise in D. bulbifera.
Leaf in D. bulbifera in monsoon becomes huge, nearly orbicular and showy, in summers size gets reduced drastically………
it would be interesting to record them in summers and compare with what we see in rains.

Thank you …! Nepali Names : घर तरुल Ghar Tarul / कुकुर तरुल Kukur Tarul

SK 2269 04 November 2019 : 7 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (3)-678 kb, 2 & 3 mb.
Location:  Harthok, Palpa
Date: 25 September 2019
Elevation:1400 m.
Habit : Wild
Which Dioscorea ?
Stem twisted to right and leaves alternate!

Attachments (2)-1 & 3 mb.

Attachments (1)- 6 mb.

Dioscorea alata ? Leaves look like it !

I guess that looks correct. Thank you …!

leaves seems a bit longer than what we see but yes

Yes but description looks matching as suggested by … !

SK 2223 15 October 2019 : 6 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (3)-1, 2 & 2 mb.
Location: Pharping, Kathmandu, Nepal
Altitude: 1690 m.
Date: 14 September 2019
Habit : Cultivated ??

Attachments (2)-1 & 3 mb.

Attachments (1)- 6 mb.

Yes …!

Hooghly – Dioscorea? Dioscorea aculeata Roxb.? (D. wallichii J. D. Hooker)? : Attachments (10). 8 posts by 3 authors.
Recorded yesterday (20.9.13) in rural backyard.

can be Diascorea alata.

My first reaction was also D. alata L. More so after visiting –
  1. http://www.eattheweeds.com/yam-a-the-alata/
  2. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/38686/#b
But, i have D. alata which has winged stem – efi thread. The stem of this plant is terete and striate.
Attaching “key” in Bengal Plants and a few more photographs.

I have gone through all the pics and checked the links from you. Thanks for the hard work you put in. I admit that I have n’t done that much of home work before suggesting the ‘Dioscorea alata’ ID. Once it was commonly seen here also. So we will wait for better ID suggestions other than D.aculeata ;if there is any.

Dioscorea species in efi so far.

As per The Plant list Dioscorea aculeata Roxb.is a synonym of Dioscorea esculenta (Lour.) Burkill

Without inflorescence or tuber, i am afraid that the id of this plant cannot be ascertain. However, attaching a link of a document on various Dioscorea.

I guess  this is Dioscorea alata L. Dave’s Garden

Thanks, …, I think matches as per illustration and image in Flora of China.

If Quadrangular stem that can be D.alata

… correct

Unlike the KEY in the “Bengal Plants”, Dioscorea aculeata Roxb., synonym of Dioscorea esculenta (Lour.) Burkill, is a left-twining plant (ref. FoC sec. Dioscorea sect. Combilium).
Here it is right -twining, so it is D. alata, as has been identified by other members.

Flora of Haryana: Dioscorea sp from Karnal along bank of WYamuna Canal:

Dioscorea sp from Karnal along bank of WYamuna Canal
Wild no flowers fruits seen
I think Discorea belophylla
Pls validate

very nice.. did you also dig up at least one of the tubers

No Mam, it was on the bank of a large Canal so there was a risk

Commendable visual presentation of the taxonomic characters (vegetative).

I agree with Dioscorea belophylla

I find it different from images at Dioscorea belophylla (Prain) Voigt ex Haines
Rather find it close to images at Dioscorea alata L. as per comparative images at Dioscorea


MS, Oct.,2021/16 Smilax sp. ? for id.: 1 high res. image.
Location : Ailawng

Date : 10-07-2018
Habit : Climber
Habitat : Wild

Dioscorea !

I think it appears close to images at Dioscorea alata L. as per comparative images at Dioscorea.


MS,Oct.,2021/68 Dioscorea sp. for id.:
Location : Sairep

Date : 23-09-2016
Habit : Climber
Habitat : Cultivated for edible bulbils.

D. bulbifera ???

Looks close !

Dioscorea alata,

I agree with … as per images at Dioscorea alata


MS,Sept.,2022/04 Dioscorea sp. for id.:
Location : Rescue Centre, Sihphir, Mizoram

Altitude : ca.1,000 m
Habit : Climber
Habitat : Wild/ Cultivated

Dioscorea bulbulfera….. Guthi..

Dioscorea bulbulifera… Gandhi.

What about the stem of D.bulbifera ? Cylindrical, angled, smooth, twisted, etc. ???

Pl. post high res. images and other images, for proper id.
It does not look like Dioscorea bulbifera L.. as per images and details herein.
Dioscorea alata L. is one of the possibilities.

Yes, appears to be Dioscorea alata L., as the stem appears to be quadrangular.

as per your image attached.
1 very high res. image.


SK 3850 07 September 2023: 4 high res. images.
Location: Indra Daha, Kathmandu, Nepal
Date: 07 September 2023

Altitude: 1800 m.
Habitat : Wild
Leaf thin and papery, stem looks twinning clockwise and bases of leaf overlapping.

Appears close to images at


SK 3840 07 September 2023: 4 high res. images.

Location: Indra Daha, Kathmandu, Nepal

Date: 07 September 2023

Altitude: 1800 m.
Habitat : Wild
Dioscorea. ID ?
Leaf thin and papery. Stem looks twinning clockwise! Tip some leaf base overlapping

Check with Dioscorea japonica

I guess it looks different !

Once check with D. hamiltonii also

Actually I have checked earlier also. FoB says leaves opposite bur alternate here.

The speciality is that the bases of the leaves are overlapping to each other !
2 book screenshots



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