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Seeds of Trade

 
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Product: Yam

Other products:  
   Yam belongs to these categories: Food crops, Important drugs
   and originated in these regions: Africa, South East Asia

 SUMMARY
 WILD RELATIVES
 ORIGINS
 EARLY USES
 TRANSFER AND SPREAD
 AGRICULTURE
 MODERN CONTEXT
  POST HARVEST


YAMS

Dioscorea bulbifera L. (Dioscoreaceae).

Given its scientific name by Carolus Linnaeus in 1753, using material described by Paul Hermann in his book about the plants of what is today Indonesia, first published in 1689.

Originally native to both South-East Asia and Africa, it was independently domesticated in both regions.

Life form: herbaceous vine from a sometimes massive tuber; dioecious, but reproducing vegetatively from small bulbils (plantlets) produced instead of flowers on the inflorescences.

Parts used: edible tubers; some species also used as a source of alkaloids for the drug industry.

Ploidy level: extremely variable - some populations diploid, some triploid and others tetraploid..

  

Specimen from the Sloane Herbarium at the Natural History Museum, London (Dioscorea alata L. - Asian Yam)