Five Leaf Yam   
Foto info
Five Leaf Yam
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Five Leaf Yam, Mountain yam, Wild yam, Prickly yam • Hindi: कांटा आलू Kanta alu, kada kanda • Manipuri: হা Ha • Marathi: शॆंडवेल Shendvel • Tamil: Chedukundi, காட்டுவள்ளி Kaattuvalli, நூறை Nuurai, Vallai kodi • Malayalam: katu-nuren-kelengu, nuraigenassu, nuraikaju • Telugu: Adavi ginusu tiga, Dukka pendalam, Monyakku pendalam, Pendi muka tiga • Kannada: kaadugumbala, adavigummathiga, kaadu gumbala • Bengali: suaralu, dura alu, kanta alu, shuoralu, chupri alu • Oriya: kontaalu • Sanskrit: kantakalu
Botanical name: Dioscorea pentaphylla    Family: Dioscoreaceae (Yam family)
Synonyms: Dioscorea triphylla

Five Leaf Yam is climbing plant, with compound leaves. Tubers are irregular, usually long ovoid, transverse section white when fresh, becoming brown, roots fibrous. Leaves are alternately arranged on the twining stems. The leaves are palmately divided into 3-5 leaflets, hence the common name. Male flower spikes occur in panicles up to 50 cm, often with long, lateral branches. Male flowers are nearly stalkless, bracts are kidney-shaped, forming an involucre around the flower. Female spikes are simple or branched, brown hairy. Female flowers have bracts, flowers, and ovary hairy. Capsule are black at maturity, long ellipsoid, 2-2.5 cm, thinly leathery, sparsely hairy, wings 0.5--0.6 cm wide. In India, this yam is common in jungles. Locals dig the tubers to eat. Male flowers are sold in the bazaars and eaten as greens. Flowering: August-October.

Identification credit: Dinesh Valke
Photographed at Pateshwar, near Satara, Maharashtra.
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