Dioscorea japonica

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Dioscorea japonica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Dioscoreales
Family: Dioscoreaceae
Genus: Dioscorea
Species: D. japonica
Binomial name
Dioscorea japonica
Thunb. 1784

Dioscorea japonica (yamaimo, Japanese mountain yam) is a type of yam (Dioscorea) native to Japan (including Ryukyu and Bonin Islands), Korea, China (including Taiwan), and Assam.[1][2]

Dioscorea japonica is used for food. Jinenjo, also called wild yam is related variety of Japanese yam that is used as an ingredient in soba noodles.


In Japanese, it is known as yamaimo [3] (lit. mountain yam; kanji: 山芋 hiragana: やまいも).

Jinenjyo (lit. wild yam; kanji: 自然薯; hiragana: じねんじょ) is another kind of Dioscorea japonica, which is native to fields and mountains in Japan.

In Chinese it is known as Rìběnshǔyù (lit. Japanese Yam; 日本[2])

In Korean it is known as cham ma 참마, as well as dang ma 당마.


Dioscorea japonica contains the antimutagenic compounds eudesmol and paeonol.[4]


Several formal botanical varieties have been proposed. Four are accepted:[1][2]

  1. Dioscorea japonica var. japonica - Japan, Korea, Ryukyu, Bonin, Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Zhejiang
  2. Dioscorea japonica var. nagarum Prain & Burkill - Assam
  3. Dioscorea japonica var. oldhamii R.Knuth - Guangdong, Guangxi, Taiwan
  4. Dioscorea japonica var. pilifera C.T.Ting & M.C.Chang - Anhui, Fujian, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Zhejiang


  1. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ a b c "Dioscorea japonica in Flora of China @ efloras.org:". Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Ohwi, Jisaburo (1965). Meyer, Frederick G.; Walker, Egbert H., eds. Flora of Japan. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. p. 314. OCLC 742327504. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Antimutagenic Activity of (+)-β-Eudesmol and Paeonol from Dioscorea japonica. Mitsuo Miyazawa, Hideo Shimamura, Sei-ichi Nakamura and Hiromu Kameoka, J. Agric. Food Chem., 1996, 44 (7), pages 1647–1650, doi:10.1021/jf950792u