Dioscorea angustiflora Rendle
Dioscorea cayennensis praehensilis (Benth.) A.Chev.
Dioscorea costermansiana De Wild. & T.Durand
Dioscorea liebrechtsiana De Wild. & T.Durand
Dioscorea odoratissima Pax
Dioscorea praehensilis is a herbaceous perennial climbing plant producing stems up to 15 metres long from a surface-rooting tuber that is protected by spiny roots. The stems twine right-handed around other plants for support, or scramble over the ground[
The edible root is sometimes gathered from the wild for local use, mainly in times of food shortage. The plant is sometimes cultivated for its root and is also sometimes grown as an ornamental[
The tubers contain toxic substances and have a very bitter flavour[
Tropical Africa - Sierra Leone to Ethiopia, south to Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Woodlands, thickets, rainforest and riverine forest, at elevations from 800 - 1,800 metres[
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
A plant of moderate elevations in the tropics. It grows in Tanzania in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 1,400 - 2,400mm[
Thrives in humus-rich soils[
This species could be one of the parents of Dioscorea cayenensis, a species that is widely cultivated in Africa for its edible root[
Root - cooked[
]. The white flesh is edible[
]. The roots are very bitter and so they are usually only harvested when young, then peeled, cut into small pieces and soaked overnight before being cooked in order to remove the toxic compounds[
]. Alternatively, they are peeled and soaked in water for several days. Then they are washed, sliced and dried in the sun. The dried slices are pounded into flour and used for porridge or ugali[
]. The tubers are only eaten as famine food in some areas[
]. The tubers can be up to 60cm long[
Leaves - cooked. The tender leaves and young shoots are mixed with other vegetables, cooked and eaten as a vegetable together with a staple such as rice[
The boiled tuber is taken in order to accelerate childbirth, and sometimes to relieve rheumatism[
An infusion prepared from the older stem is used to treat stomach complaints, urethral discharge and oedema[
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