Dioscorea trifida

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Dioscorea trifida
Dioscorea trifida crop.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Dioscoreales
Family: Dioscoreaceae
Genus: Dioscorea
D. trifida
Binomial name
Dioscorea trifida

Dioscorea trifida is a species of flowering plant in the family Dioscoreaceae. It is a species of yam (genus Dioscorea). It is native to the Caribbean and Central and South America.[1] Its many common names include Indian yam,[2] cush-cush, and yampee.[1] It is called mapuey in Venezuela,[3] inhame in Brazil, tabena and ñame in Colombia, sacha papa in Peru,[1] and ñampi in Costa Rica.


This plant is a vine that can exceed 3 meters in length.[4] One plant produces up to 12 stems, which are lined with several membranous wings.[5] They emerge from roots with tubers of various shape and size, generally up to 20 centimeters long by 8 wide.[4] The leaves are up to 23[6] to 30[4] centimeters long with blades divided into pointed lobes and borne on long, winged petioles. Green flowers with six tiny tepals are borne in the axils. The fruit is a winged, lightly hairy capsule up to about 2.7 centimeters long.[6]


This is a cultivated yam species used for food in parts of the Americas, especially South America and some Caribbean nations. The starchy tuber has a thin, smooth skin marked with some cracks. It takes different shapes but is commonly spherical or club-shaped, or shaped like a horse hoof, sometimes with a cleft.[5] It comes in various colors, including white, purple, and black.[7] The crop is cultivated like the potato, but must be given a strong trellis for support. It is propagated by planting small tubers or tuber chunks. The crop can be harvested in 10 to 11 months.[5]

The tuber is cooked for food. It can be baked or boiled.[5] In Venezuela and Colombia it is mashed or used in soups.[3] In parts of the Caribbean it is known as "the best of the yams".[5] It is a staple food for some indigenous peoples.[7]

The tuber is about 38% starch.[5] It is a waxy starch that lacks amylose and has potential uses as a binder and thickener in food processing.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Dioscorea trifida". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  2. ^ Dioscorea trifida. ITIS.
  3. ^ a b Pérez, E., et al. (2011). Evaluation of the functional properties of promising Dioscorea trifida L. waxy starches for food innovation. International Journal of Carbohydrate Chemistry vol. 2011, Article ID 165638, 7 pages.
  4. ^ a b c Dioscorea trifida. FAO Ecocrop.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Stephens, J. M. Cushcush — Dioscorea trifida L. HS590. Florida Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida IFAS. Published 1994, revised 2009.
  6. ^ a b Dioscorea trifida. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Barro Colorado Island.
  7. ^ a b c Pérez, E., et al. (2010). Physicochemical, functional, and macromolecular properties of waxy yam starches discovered from "mapuey" (Dioscorea trifida) genotypes in the Venezuelan Amazon. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 59(1), 263-73.