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Taxon: Dioscorea bulbifera L.

Genus: Dioscorea
Family: Dioscoreaceae
Nomen number: 14186
Place of publication: Sp. pl. 2:1033. 1753
Typification: View record from Linnaean Plant Name Typification Project of the Natural History Museum of London.
Name verified on: 12-May-1995 by ARS Systematic Botanists. Last updated: 09-May-2011
Species priority site is: Natl. Germplasm Repository - Miami (MIA).


A declared aquatic or terrestrial noxious weed and/or noxious-weed seed in these U.S. states (see state noxious weed lists), with links to state information or web documents:
AL*, FL*.
ªAquatic. *Terrestrial. °In seed.
noxious weed information from Invaders Database System for northwestern U.S.
Link to species profile at National Invasive Species Information Center

Common names:

  • aerial yam   (Source: F Ceylon ) – English
  • air-potato   (Source: World Econ Pl ) – English
  • bitter yam   (Source: F Hawaii ) – English
  • cheeky yam   (Source: Econ Pl Aust ) – English
  • potato yam   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – English
  • igname bulbifère   (Source: Pl Res SEAs 9:85.) – French
  • pousse en l'air   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – French
  • Brotwurzel   (Source: Zander ed17 ) – German
  • Yamswurzel   (Source: Zander ed17 ) – German
  • hoi   (Source: F Hawaii ) – Hawaiian
  • hoei-oepas   (Source: Names Watson ) – India
  • inhame   (Source: D. Groth, p.c. 2005) – Portuguese (Brazil)
  • ñame de gunda   (Source: Dict Rehm ) – Spanish
  • papa voladora   (Source: F Mesoamer ) – Spanish
  • potatisjams   (Source: Vara kulturvaxt namn ) – Swedish

Economic importance:


Distributional range:

    East Tropical Africa: Tanzania; Uganda
    West-Central Tropical Africa: Cameroon
    West Tropical Africa: Burkina Faso; Cote D'Ivoire; Ghana; Guinea; Liberia; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone
    Western Indian Ocean: Madagascar; Mauritius; Reunion
    China: China [e. & s.]
    Indian Subcontinent: Bhutan; India; Nepal; Sri Lanka
    Indo-China: Cambodia; Laos; Myanmar; Thailand; Vietnam
    Malesia: Indonesia; Malaysia; Papua New Guinea; Philippines
    Australia: Australia - Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia [n.]

  • widely naturalized elsewhere

  • also cultivated


  • Aldén, B., S. Ryman & M. Hjertson. 2009. Våra kulturväxters namn - ursprung och användning. Formas, Stockholm (Handbook on Swedish cultivated and utility plants, their names and origin).
  • Arnold, H. L. 1968. Poisonous plants of Hawaii.
  • Bhattacharjee, R. et al. 2011. Chapter 4. Dioscorea. Pp. 71–96 in: Kole, C., ed., Wild crop relatives: genomic and breeding resources, industrial crops.
  • Bosser, J. M. et al., eds. 1976–. Flores des Mascareignes.
  • Burkill, H. M. 1985–2004. The useful plants of west tropical Africa.
  • Campbell, F. T., ed. 1995. Report of National Coalition of Exotic Plant Pest Councils. (unpublished draft)
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences. 1959–. Flora reipublicae popularis sinicae.
  • Conant, P. et al. 1997. Appendix. Selected plant species interfering with resource management goals in North American natural areas. Pp. 255–267 in: Luken, J. O. & J. W. Thieret, eds., Assessment and management of plant invasions.
  • Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques & South African National Biodiversity Institute. African flowering plants database (on-line resource).
  • Dassanayake, M. D. & F. R. Fosberg, eds. 1980–. A revised handbook to the flora of Ceylon.
  • Davidse, G. et al., eds. 1994. Flora mesoamericana.
  • Duke, J. A. et al. 2002. CRC Handbook of medicinal herbs.
  • Erhardt, W. et al. 2002. Zander: Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen, 17. Auflage.
  • FNA Editorial Committee. 1993–. Flora of North America.
  • Flach, M. & F. Rumawas, eds. 1996. Plants yielding non-seed carbohydrates. In: Faridah Hanum, I. & L. J. G. van der Maesen, eds., Plant Resources of South-East Asia (PROSEA). 9:85–89.
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2010. Ecocrop (on-line resource).
  • George, A. S., ed. 1980–. Flora of Australia.
  • Grierson, A. J. C. & D. J. Long. 1984–. Flora of Bhutan including a record of plants from Sikkim.
  • Groth, D. 2005. pers. comm. [re. Brazilian common names].
  • Hara, H. et al. 1978–1982. An enumeration of the flowering plants of Nepal.
  • Howard, R. 1974–1989. Flora of the lesser Antilles.
  • Huxley, A., ed. 1992. The new Royal Horticultural Society dictionary of gardening.
  • Keay, R. W. J. & F. N. Hepper. 1953–1972. Flora of west tropical Africa, ed. 2.
  • Lazarides, M. & B. Hince. 1993. CSIRO Handbook of Economic Plants of Australia.
  • Markle, G. M. et al., eds. 1998. Food and feed crops of the United States, ed. 2.
  • McGuffin, M., J. T. Kartesz, A. Y. Leung, & A. O. Tucker. 2000. Herbs of commerce, ed. 2.
  • Merrill, E. D. 1922–1926. An enumeration of Philippine flowering plants.
  • Porcher, M. H. et al. Searchable World Wide Web Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database (MMPND) (on-line resource).
  • Ramser, J. et al. 1996. Genomic variation and relationships in aerial yam (Dioscorea bulbifera L.) detected by random amplified polymorphic DNA. Genome 39:17–25.
  • Rehm, S. 1994. Multilingual dictionary of agronomic plants.
  • Steenis, C. G. G. J. van, ed. 1948–. Flora malesiana.
  • Tamiru, M. et al. 2007. Genetic diversity in yam germplasm from Ethiopia and their relatedeness to the main cultivated Dioscorea species assessed y AFLP markers. Crop Sci. (Madison) 47:1744–1753. [it found evidence for suggesting a close affinity between Dioscorea bulbifera and D. alata].
  • Terauchi, R. et al. 1991. Intraspecific variation of chloroplast DNA in Dioscorea bulbifera L. Theor. Appl. Genet. 81:461–470.
  • Turrill, W. B. et al., eds. 1952–. Flora of tropical East Africa.
  • USDA National Agricultural Library. National Invasive Species Information Center (on-line resource).
  • Wagner, W. L. et al. 1990. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawai'i.
  • Watson, J. F. 1868. Index to the native and scientific names of Indian and other eastern economic plants and products.
  • Wilkin, P. et al. 2005. A plastid gene phylogeny of the yam genus, Dioscorea: roots, fruits and Madagascar. Syst. Bot. 30:736–749.
  • Wilkin, P. 2001. Dioscoreaceae of south-central Africa. Kew Bull. 56:379.
  • Wu Zheng-yi & P. H. Raven et al., eds. 1994–. Flora of China (English edition).


Check other web resources for Dioscorea bulbifera L.:

  • Flora of North America: Collaborative Floristic Effort of North American Botanists
  • Flora of China: Online version from Harvard University
  • AVH: Australia's Virtual Herbarium
  • ABRS: Australian Biological Resources Study Flora of Australia online
  • TROPICOS: Nomenclatural and Specimen Database of the Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Mansfeld: Mansfeld's World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops
  • ePIC: Electronic Plant Information Centre of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • AGRICOLA: Article Citation Database or NAL Catalog of USDA's National Agricultural Library
  • Entrez: NCBI's search engine for PubMed citations, GenBank sequences, etc.


  • Check for additional images
  • Google Images Images Note: Be advised that their identity may be inaccurate. Proper identification of a plant may require specialized taxonomic knowledge or comparison with properly documented herbarium material.

Abbreviations & symbols in GRIN Taxonomy

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Cite as:
USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program.
Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database].
National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
URL: (25 November 2015)

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