Black-Bulb Yam
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Black-Bulb Yam
P Native Photo: Nidhan Singh
Common name: Black-Bulb Yam
Botanical name: Dioscorea melanophyma    Family: Dioscoreaceae (Yam family)
Synonyms: Dioscorea tenii

Black-Bulb Yam is a perennial climber, with stems hairless, slender, twining clockwise. Bulblets are present, black at maturity, 5-7 mm in diameter, smooth. Tubers small, spherical. Leaves alternate, 3-5-foliolate, hairless; leaf-stalk 1.5-4.5 cm long, leaflets 3.5-13.5 cm long, 1-2.5 cm broad, narrowly lanceshaped, finely tapering; leaflet-stalk 0-5 mm long. Male flower racemes are velvet-hairy, 2.5-5 cm long, in leaf-axils, solitary or sometimes 2. Fertile stamens are 3, alternating with 3 staminodes. Female spikes are velvet-hairy solitary, in leaf-axils, about 4 cm long. Capsules are about 1.5 cm long, 0.5 cm broad, more or less flat at the tip, rounded at the base. Seeds winged at the top. Black-Bulb Yam is found in the Himalayas, W. Pakistan to East Himaaya and S.C. China, at altitudes of 1400-2400 m. Flowering: August-September.

Identification credit: Saroj Kasaju Photographed in Banjar Valley, Kullu & Sirmaur Distt, Himachal Pradesh.

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