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Published In: Species Plantarum 2: 1032. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
General/Distribution: A genus of about 600 species, found in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world: The stem-tubers or tuberous rhizomes of many species, known as “Yams”, mostly contain starch and are therefore cultivated for food in tropical regions of the world, especially of America. They can be propagated easily either by the bulbils present in the axils of the leaves or by `Eyes' as in potatoes.

Represented in Pakistan by 4 species.


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Large perennial herbs with twining annual stems arising from tubers. Leaves alternate or opposite, simple or palmately compound, cordate-sagittate or hastate, multicostate with reticulate and divergent venation, often bearing bulbils in their axils; petioles long, twisted at the base. Flowers small, in spikes or racemes, unisexual, actinomorphic. Male flowers: perianth 6-cleft; segments short, spreading, in 2 whorls; stamens 6, all antheriferous or some times only 3 bearing anthers; filaments free or united at the base, anthers small, incurved, 2-celled, dehiscing longitudinally; pistillode thick and fleshy or absent. Female flowers: perianth of 6, small, free, persistent tepas; staminodes 6,3 or absent; ovary inferior, 3-quetrous, trilocular, 2 superposed ovules suspended from axile placentas in each locule; stigmas reflexed. Fruit a 3-winged loculicidal capsule. Seeds flattened, often winged.

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1 Leaves simple. Male flowers spicate; antheriferous Stamens 6, staminodes absent (2)
+ Leaves palmately compound. Male flowers racemose; antheriferous stamens 3 alternating with 3 staminodes Dioscorea melanophyma
2 (1) Stem twining clockwise. Leaves alternate (3)
+ Stem twining anticlockwise. Leaves opposite Dioscorea belophylla
3 (2) Leaves glabrous above, pubescent along the veins and the veinules beneath. Female spikes solitary few-flowered. Capsule broader than long. Seeds Winged all round Dioscorea deltoidea
+ Leaves glabrous on both sides. Female spikes in clusters, many flowered. Capsule longer than broad. Seeds winged at the base Dioscorea bulbifera
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