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Yams—Dioscorea spp.

MV153/HS686 by James M. StephensNovember 6, 2018Yam is the common name applied to plants of about 500 species of the genus Dioscorea of the Dioscoreaceae family. Other terms for yam are true yams, greater yam, tropical yam, and name. True yam plants are climbing perennial vines with heart-shaped leaves. Underground tubers vary in size and shape, averaging 3–8 pounds but sometimes reaching 60 pounds or more. Aerial tubers may develop in the axils of the leaves, especially when vines run on the ground. The species occur rather abundantly in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Several species occur here in Florida and in temperate regions as wild plants.

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