Welcome to Dioscoreaceae

Dioscoreaceae form the major part of a small but systematically and economically significant order of monocotyledons. The most diverse and important element of Dioscoreales is the yam genus, Dioscorea L., with over 600 accepted species names worldwide. Many yam species have edible tubers. There are three major cultigens, the winged yam (D. alata L.), the guinea yams (D. cayenensis Lam./ D. rotundata Poir.) and the lesser or Asiatic yam D. esculenta (Lour.) Burkill.

Dioscoreales are found in temperate and tropical regions worldwide, with the highest diversity being in the seasonally dry tropics of Central South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, South Africa, Madagascar and Indochina where Dioscorea species numbers are highest. The yam allies are either plants of the wet tropics, where the other genera of Dioscoreaceae and Burmanniaceae occur, or plants of temperate and montane tropical habitats Nartheciaceae.