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Dioscorea sansibarensis


Dioscorea sansibarensis Pax

Family Name: Dioscoreaceae
Synonyms: Dioscorea macronra, Dioscorea welsitschii
Common Name: Zanzibar Yam


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Tropical Africa
Native Habitat Terrestrial

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A herbaceous vine, the stems can grow up to 7m in length. 
Roots It has tuberous roots which are toxic. 
Foliage The simple leaves are heart-shaped and are oppositely arranged along the stem, but alternately near the base. Leaf blades measure about 6 - 27 cm long and 7 - 42 cm wide with 7 - 11 veins. The long petiole measures 6 - 20 cm, sometimes slightly longer than the blade, with clasping base and stipulate lobes. Leaves are smooth (glabrous) with irregular margin of 3 - 5 lobes and caudate leaf tips.
Stems The stems are glabrous and have bulbils growing out from the axils. 
Etymology The genus name is derived from 'Dioscorides', a 1st century Greek physician and herbalist who was the author of 'Materia Medica'. 
Ethnobotanical Uses Others: The tubers and bulbils are used to poison wild animals or as a fish poison. 

Landscaping Features

Usage Hazard - Cons Invasive / Potentially Invasive

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Rootzone Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils
Propagation Method Aerial Bulbil


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green

Image Repository



Master ID 88
Species ID 1384
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 06 April 2022.