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Dioscorea alata


Dioscorea alata L.

Family Name: Dioscoreaceae
Common Name: Water Yam, White Yam, Winged Yam, Greater Yam


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Climber
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution South-East Asia
Native Habitat Terrestrial

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A herbaceous climber, it has a twining growth form and can climb up to 20m in height. 
Foliage The leaves are sagittate in shape with an entire leaf margin. 
Stems The stems are broadly winged and are 4-angled. The stems produce bubils, up to 4cm in width. 
Flowers The plant is dioecious, having male and female flowers on separate plants. The male flowers are borne on panicles while the female flowers are borne on spikes.   
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts : Edible Storage Organs
Food (Fruit or Vegetable)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Form
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Trellis / Arbour / Pergola
Thematic Landscaping Economic Garden
Usage Hazard - Cons Invasive / Potentially Invasive

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Rootzone Tolerance Acidic (low pH) Soils
Propagation Method Storage Organ (Tuberous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers

Image Repository



Master ID 31656
Species ID 6055
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: 20 August 2021.