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common name for some members of the Dioscoreaceae, a family of tropical and subtropical climbing herbs or shrubs with starchy rhizomes often cultivated for food. The largest genus, Dioscorea, is commercially important in East Asia and in tropical America. The thick rhizomes, often weighing 30 lb (13.6 kg) or more, are used for human consumption and for feeding livestock. A number of species of Dioscorea are cultivated for extraction of diosgenin, a female hormone precursor used in the manufacture of the contraceptive pill. In the United States, cultivation of yams for food is restricted to the South, but the wild yam (sometimes used medicinally) is indigenous farther north, and another species, the cinnamon vine, is cultivated as a decorative plant. The sweet potatosweet potato,
trailing perennial plant (Ipomoea batatas) of the family Convolvulaceae (morning glory family), native to the New World tropics. Cultivated from ancient times by the Aztecs for its edible tubers, it was introduced into Europe in the 16th cent.
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, which belongs to the morning glory family, is sometimes erroneously called yam. The S African elephant's-foot (Testudinaria elephantipes), also called Hottentot bread and tortoise plant, is sometimes grown in greenhouses; its large rootstock was formerly eaten by the natives. Yams are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Liliopsida, order Liliales, family Dioscoreaceae.



any one of more than 30 plant species of the genus Dioscorea of the family Dioscoreaceae. Yams are cultivated for their tubers in the tropics and subtropics. The tubers are different morphologically (thickening of the hypocotyl, internodes, or rhizomes). In some species, they reach a length of 1.5 m and a weight of 50 kg. The tubers are used as food in a way similar to potatoes. The poisonous substances found in the tubers of some species are usually destroyed during boiling or baking. The most important species are the Chinese yam (D. batatas), winged yam (D. alata), D. esculenta, and the air potato (D. bulbifera).


Ipat’ev, A. N. Ovoshchnye rasteniia zemnogo shara. Minsk, 1966.
Siniagin, I. I. Tropicheskoe zemledelie. Moscow, 1968.
Uphof, J. C. T. Dictionary of Economic Plants, 2nd ed. Lehre, 1968.

What does it mean when you dream about a yam?

Yams are usually associated with the holiday season. The dreamer’s associations with this symbol may be rooted in memories of family celebrations. As a plant that grows under the ground, the yam is also a natural symbol of something deeply rooted in the unconscious mind.


A plant of the genus Dioscorea grown for its edible fleshy root.
An erroneous name for the Puerto Rico variety of sweet potato; the edible, starchy tuberous root of the plant.


1. any of various twining plants of the genus Dioscorea, of tropical and subtropical regions, cultivated for their edible tubers: family Dioscoreaceae
2. Southern US any of certain large varieties of sweet potato
3. a former Scot name for the (common) potato
References in periodicals archive ?
2005a; Ambrosano et al, 2013), as in the present experiment, in which they were planted one month after the yam plants.
Low twist polyester yam was coated with either the SP1/ CNT/latex or SP1/CB/latex complex.
Inside the greenhouse, you have an irrigation system and mist system and the yam plantlets or vine is suspended on a table with the mist continuously feeding the plant in a soil-free environment allowing seed yam tuber production.
To produce yams, electrospinning was performed between the neutral cylinder and two syringe nozzles.
Variability in biochemical composition and cell wall constituents of yams grown in the same environment with the same quantity, quality and duration of light, temperature and carbon (IV) oxide concentration can be attributed to differences in genetic constituents of the yam varieties.
The position vector r points from the origin of the coordinate system to a chosen point along the yarn, [rho] is the linear density of the yam mass, [omega] is the angular velocity vector of the spinning coordinate system in which the yarn is being described and which points along the z-axis, D is the operator of the total time derivative which follows the motion of the point inside the spinning coordinate system, D = [partial derivative]/[partial derivative]t|.
3 pearl onions, 2 candied yams, and a turkey drumstick soaked in gravy
Nigeria produces most of the world's annual output of over 27 million tones of yams (FAO, 2004).
In Nigeria, Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nassarawa, Kogi, Edo and Kaduna states are the major yam producing states.
The West Java government will give facilities to people in the regencies to plant yams.