How Do You Identify Dioscorea Alata?

How Do You Identify Dioscorea Alata?

Dioscorea Alata is a yam species that goes by various names, including purple yam and larger yam (a tuber).

The tubers are often a vibrant violet-purple to brilliant lavender hue (thus the common name), although others are cream to plain white.

It is commonly mistaken for taro and the Okinawa sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas cv. Ayamurasaki); however, D. Alata is also produced in Okinawa as beniimo.

  1. Alata originated in the Asian tropics and has been known to people since ancient times.


Dioscorea Alata is a twining herbaceous vine that may reach heights of 30 feet (9.1 m). In the extreme southeastern United States, it invades open shady places.


The opposing leaves are 8 in. (20.3 cm) long, narrowly heart-shaped, and have long petioles. The stems are square with compressed corners that form wings.


Flowers are uncommon on the vine.


The aerial potato-like tubers (bulbils) situated in the leaf axils and subterranean tubers are the primary modes of reproduction.

Environmental Danger

  1. Alata vines may develop dense mats that cover and destroy natural plants, even trees. In the early 1800s, it was brought from Asia as a prospective food source. Some nations are now cultivating D. Alata for therapeutic purposes.

Is Dioscorea Alata Edible?

Purple yams contain edible tubers that taste pleasantly sweet, earthy, and nutty, similar to sweet potatoes or taro.

Because of the high concentration of anthocyanins in violet cultivars, dishes become a uniquely vibrant violet. Purple yams are also valuable because of the starch that can be extracted from them.

Purple yam is often used in Philippine cuisine (where it is known as ube or Ubi).

It is commonly used in various Filipino sweets, including ube cake, ube cheesecake, and ube crinkles, as well as an ingredient or flavoring for ice cream, milk, donuts, tarts, jam, and other types of pastries.

It is commonly consumed boiled, baked, or as a sweetened delicacy known as ube halayá; the latter is a prominent element in the iced confection known as halo-halo. Purple yam treats, known in the Philippines as “ube,” have just made their way to the United States.

It is especially appreciated for the vibrant violet-purple colour it imparts to pastries.

How Do You Grow Dioscorea Alata?

Winged yam, like potatoes, is often cultivated by planting tuber portions. The beginning parts can be purchased online or obtained from a friend.

Small tubers can be planted whole, while larger tubers can be divided into numerous pieces and planted separately. Allow the pieces to dry before planting or sprouting.

Dioscorea Alata can be planted at any time of year in the tropics, but it is most commonly planted after the rainy season. That corresponds to spring in the United States. Plant your yams in the ground only after all dangers of frost have gone.

The tubers take anything from 3 to 12 weeks to grow. You may save time by sprouting the yam pieces before planting.

Simply place them in a pail of dirt and water them regularly. You may transfer them into their permanent homes after they sprout.

Till the soil thoroughly before planting in the ground. The growing tubers will appreciate the extra space provided by loose soil.

Plant the tubers 4-5 inches apart and 4-5 inches deep. Applying organic mulch on top is advisable to keep water in and weeds out.

Dioscorea Alata may be cultivated in containers, but the size must be monitored. Harvest the yam before it outgrows its container, which should be at least a 5-gallon size.

What Is The Common Name For Dioscorea Alata?

Dioscorea Alata is a yam species that goes by various names, including purple yam, ube, and larger yam (a tuber).

  1. Alata is known by several various names in tropical South America, Africa, Australia, and the southeastern United States since it has become naturalized in these areas.

Apart from purple yam, other frequent names in English are Guyana arrowroot, ten-month yam, water yam, white yam, winged yam, violet yam, and simply yam.

Is Dioscorea Alata Poisonous?

Dioscorea species with edible leaves have opposite leaves, whereas toxic species have alternating leaves. This species’ undercooked tuber is poisonous and is known to cause narcosis. Saponin is present, and boiling makes the tubers edible.

It can, but only if consumed uncooked. To avoid this, cook your Dioscorea Alata entirely before eating it.

Sweet potato contains edible leaves and is frequently mistaken with Dioscorea. We do not advocate eating Dioscorea Alata leaves.

While some yams have safe leaves after being cooked, this one is still dangerous.

What Is The Habit Of Dioscorea Alata?

  1. Alata grows in wet woods, mesic forests, and hardwood forests in partly to densely covered places. This species is abundant in disturbed regions and moist secondary forests at lower and moderate altitudes in Puerto Rico.
  2. Alata has been found in sandhills, maritime hammocks, upland pine forests, hardwood hammocks, mesic Flatwoods, and ruderal communities across Florida.
  3. Alata originated in the Asian tropics and has been known to people since ancient times.
  4. Alata is known by several various names in tropical South America, Africa, Australia, and the southeastern United States since it has become naturalized in these areas.

Aside from purple yam, other frequent names in English are Guyana arrowroot, ten-month yam, water yam, white yam, winged yam, violet yam, or simply yam.

How Do You Care For Dioscorea Alata?

  1. Alata is a vigorous twining herbaceous vine that is both a valuable edible tuber crop and an invasive species outside of farmed regions. It needs the following to thrive well;

Sun Requirements

Allow your winged yam to receive full to partial sunshine. Because it comes from the tropics, it thrives best in tropical and warm weather. It will also benefit from morning and late afternoon sunlight.

Temperature Requirements

It prefers a comfortable temperature of at least 70°F.

These plants may be grown as perennials in zones 9-11. The weather will otherwise only enable this yam to grow periodically. Roots and green growth can be harmed by freezing temperatures.

Water Requirements

Dioscorea is drought-tolerant but prefers continuous precipitation. Water it anytime the top few inches of soil become dry.

Drip lines or soaker hoses are ideal for this plant. Stop watering the plants as they begin to die towards the end of the growth season to keep them from rotting.

Humidity Requirements

So long as you keep the soil moist during the summer, humidity isn’t a big deal.

Soil Requirements

Dioscorea Alata species may grow in a wide range of soil conditions. However, the soil should contain all of the best characteristics for optimal growth.

It should be loamy, fertile, rich in organic matter, and drain properly. It is also critical that the soil be loose so that the tubers may develop readily. A pH of neutral or slightly acidic would suffice.

Fertilizing Requirements

Dioscorea Alata doesn’t mind fertilizer as long as it contains nutrients. Before planting, amend the soil with organic materials and cover it with mulch.

Apply a balanced fertilizer a couple of times during the growth season to give the plant and aerial tubers a boost.

Is Dioscorea Alata A Climber?

As a climber, this vine will benefit greatly from a trellis to grow on. Furthermore, having support will help your plant thrive. The vines will spread out and expose more leaf surface for photosynthesis as it climbs.

Use a trellis, fence, or host tree as support structures. If the vines do not naturally wrap around the support, carefully wind them around it.

Tie them loosely with a scrap of cloth if required. If your plant outgrows its support, use sharp, clean clippers to trim back the tendrils.

If you don’t want to propagate your Dioscorea elata’s aerial tubers, cut them off before they develop.

We wish to control this potentially invasive plant by controlling its aerial tubers. Dismantle the aerial tubers before throwing them out so they don’t take root in your compost bin.

How Do You Harvest Dioscorea Alata?

The leaves will yellow and die as the tubers grow. This is the time to take a shovel and begin harvesting. This normally occurs between November and January. If frost is expected to fall earlier in your location, you should harvest sooner.

Pull the entire plant up carefully, using a shovel if necessary. Brush the soil from the tubers after removing them from the plant. It’s that easy!

Ensure that all tubers, aerial tubers, and vines are removed from the ground so that nothing is left to its own devices. Otherwise, you can wind up with a really invasive plant.

If you live in USDA zones 9-11, you can let your Dioscorea Alata grow for two or more years.

Simply keep it in the ground during the winter. It will most likely drop its leaves and go dormant for several months. You should see a significant reward the next crop season.

What Is The Family Name Of Dioscorea Alata?

Dioscorea Alata, often known as water yam or winged yam, is a yam family fast-growing, twining, tuberous-rooted, herbaceous perennial vine (Dioscoreaeae).

It yields a big root crop of edible underground tubers (yams), a major starchy food source in many tropical and subtropical regions worldwide.

This species is perhaps the most important and widely grown edible yam, with major cultivation taking place in the West Indies, West Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America.

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