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Uses

Toxic parts

Edible species of Dioscorea have opposite leaves whilst poisonous species have alternate leaves[1]. Use of the fresh plant can cause vomiting and other side effects[2].

Edible uses

Notes

Tuber - cooked[3]. Some caution should be exercised with this plant. See 'Medicinal Uses' for more information.

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Dioscorea villosa.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Wild yam roots, and the roots of many other members of the genus, contains diosgenin[2]. 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[2][4].

The roots are anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic and vasodilator[5][6]. They are also a visceral relaxant[5]. This plant affords one of the best and fastest cures for bilious colic, it is especially helpful in treating the nausea of pregnant women[7] and has been used to ease the pain of childbirth[8]. It is also taken internally in the treatment of arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, gall bladder complaints, painful menstruation etc[6]. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[6]. The root should not be stored for longer than 1 year, since it is likely to lose its medicinal virtues[7]. Caution is advised in the use of the this plant, when taken fresh it can cause vomiting and other side effects[2].

The root, harvested in September, is used to make a homeopathic remedy[9]. Its main use is in the treatment of infant colic[9].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Climber

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow March to April in a sunny position in a warm greenhouse and only just cover. It germinates in 1 - 3 weeks at 20°c[10]. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in a greenhouse for their first year. Plant out in late spring as the plant comes into new growth.

Basal stem cuttings in the summer[11]. Division in the dormant season, never when in growth[12]. 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 possibly 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 a greenhouse or cold frame. Plant out in early summer when in active growth[K].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Dioscorea villosa. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

An easily grown plant, succeeding in a fertile well-drained soil in a sunny position or light shade[13]. Prefers a rich light soil[12].

Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[6]. Plants produce tubercles (small tubers that are formed in the leaf axils of the stems), and can be propagated by this means[K]. A climbing plant that supports itself by twining around the branches of other plants[14]. This is a polymorphic species, some botanists dividing it up into several species[15].

Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Dioscorea villosa. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Dioscorea villosa.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Dioscorea villosa
Genus
Dioscorea
Family
Dioscoreaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
6
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    3 x meters
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    ?
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type











    References

    1. ? Kariyone. T. Atlas of Medicinal Plants. ()
    2. ? 2.02.12.22.32.4 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.2 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
    6. ? 6.06.16.26.36.4 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.2 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.2 Castro. M. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook. Macmillan. London. ISBN 0-333-55581-3 (1990-00-00)
    10. ? Bird. R. (Editor) Focus on Plants. Volume 5. (formerly 'Growing from seed') Thompson and Morgan. (1991-00-00)
    11. ? Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    13. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    14. ? Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls Collins ISBN 0-00-219220-0 (1983-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Dover Publications. New York. ISBN 0-486-22642-5 (1970-00-00)
    16. ? Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany. American Book Co. (1950-00-00)