Material usesThere are no material uses listed for Dioscorea batatas.
The tuber is anthelmintic, digestive and gently tonic. It is used internally in the treatment of tiredness, weight loss, poor appetite, poor digestion, chronic diarrhoea, asthma, dry coughs, frequent or uncontrollable urination, diabetes and emotional instability. It is applied externally to ulcers, boils and abscesses. The tubers are harvested in the autumn and can be used raw or baked. The leaf juice is used to treat snakebites and scorpion stings.The roots of most, if not all, members of this genus, contains diosgenin. This is widely used in modern medicine in order to manufacture progesterone and other steroid drugs. These are used as contraceptives and in the treatment of various disorders of the genitary organs as well as in a host of other diseases such as asthma and arthritis.
Basal stem cuttings in the summer. Division in the dormant season, never when in growth. The plant will often produce a number of shoots, the top 5 - 10 cm of the root below each shoot can be potted up to form a new plant whilst the lower part of the root can be eaten[K].Tubercles (baby tubers) are formed in the leaf axils. These are harvested in late summer and early autumn when about the size of a pea and coming away easily from the plant. They should be potted up immediately in individual pots in an unheated greenhouse or cold frame, covering them with about 10mm of soil. Protect them from mice etc and keep the soil moist but not wet. They should come into growth in the spring, plant them out in early summer when in active growth[K].
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Dioscorea batatas. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Plants are hardy to at least -18°c. This species of yam is much cultivated in China for its edible root which can be up to 1 metre long. It has a great potential to be a commercial crop in Britain, though a satisfactory method of harvesting the root needs to be found[K]. Plants take 3 - 4 years to reach full maturity, though one year roots of well grown plants can weigh more than 500g. There are many cultivated forms with different root shapes in China and Japan. The yam is a climbing plant that supports itself by twining around the branches of other plants. It can be grown successfully into small bushes or, perhaps simpler when being grown as a root crop, it can be grown up a frame in a similar manner to growing runner beans[K]. Plants produce tubercles (small tubers that are formed in the leaf axils of the stems), and can be propagated by this means[K]. The small white flowers have a pleasant scent of cinnamon. There is some confusion over the correct name for this species. One report says that D. batatas is an invalid name that is often erroneously applied to two distinct species D. opposita and D. japonica. The Flora of China accepts D. batatas as a synonym for D. polystachya.Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Dioscorea batatas. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Dioscorea batatas.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
- Fruit (Unknown use)
- Root (Unknown use)
- Unknown part (Anthelmintic)
- Unknown part (Antidote)
- Unknown part (Contraceptive)
- Unknown part (Digestive)
- Unknown part (Miscellany)
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