Dioscorea japonica

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Dioscorea japonica
Dioscorea Japonica (Yamaimo) 3.JPG
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, known as East Asian mountain yam,[1] yamaimo, or Japanese mountain yam, is a type of yam (Dioscorea) native to Japan (including Ryukyu and Bonin Islands), Korea, China, Taiwan, and Assam.[2][3]

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


In Japanese, it is known as yamaimo (山芋) "mountain yam".[4]

Jinenjo (自然薯) "wild yam" is another kind of Dioscorea japonica, which is native to fields and mountains in Japan.

In Chinese it is known as Rìběnshǔyù (literally Japanese Yam; 日本[3])

In Korean it is known as cham ma 참마, as well as dang ma 당마.[citation needed]


Dioscorea japonica contains the antimutagenic compounds eudesmol and paeonol.[5]


Several formal botanical varieties have been proposed. Four are accepted:[2][3]

  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. ^ English Names for Korean Native Plants (PDF). Pocheon: Korea National Arboretum. 2015. p. 442. ISBN 978-89-97450-98-5. Retrieved 4 January 2017 – via Korea Forest Service.
  2. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ 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