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a family of monocotyledonous plants. They are grasses, chiefly with vine stems and thick roots or tubers. For the most part, the leaves are alternate and net-veined. The blossoms are small and occur in bunches, ears, or panicles. Dioscoreaceae may be bisexual, but more often they are unisexual on dioecious. There are approximately ten genera (more than 650 species), found chiefly in tropical and subtropical countries. There are two genera in the USSR, represented by three species. The species of the genus Dioscorea have economic importance.