Dioscorea bulbifera

Dioscorea bulbifera L. (Dioscoreaceae)

(2n = 36, 40, 54, 60, 70, 80, 98,100)

Syn : Dioscorea crispata Roxb., D. pulchella Roxb.. D. sativa Thunb. non L, D. versicolor Buch. Ham.

English names: Air yam, Potato yam, Air potato.

Sanskrit name: Varahi.

Vernacular names: Ben: Banalu, Kukuralu; Hin : Gaithi, Rataler, Pitalu; Kan : Heggenasu; Man: Ha; Mar: Manakundu, Karukarinda; Mun : Jo aru; Tam: Kodikulangu; Tel: Chedupaddu-dumpa; San: Bongo-sanga.

Traditional use: TRIBES OF PURULIA (West Bengal) : Tuber: in boils; SANTAL : (i) Dried tuber (powdery: as shampoo and on sores; (ii) Plant: against madness; SIKKIMESE : Tuber: in jaundice; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF DEHRA DUN AND SIWALIK: Tuber: in dysentery, piles; DANG (Gujarat) : Tuber: in abdominal pain, bone fracture.

Modern use: Aerial parts (50% EtOH extract) : diuretic; Rhizome: anorexiant.

Phytography : Climber, usually twining to the left; stem slender, green or purple, with 10-15 small crisped wings, tubers large, variable in form; leaves opposite and alternate, petioles 5-15 cm long, lamina cordate, very variable in size, attaining 35 cm in length, membranous, dark green, 7-9 costate; male spikes slender, almost capillary, 2.5-10 cm long, panicled, flowers crowded or scattered, green or purplish; female spikes 10-25 cm long, pendulous; capsules 1.6-2.5 cm by 0.8-1.25 cm, membranous; seeds with broad basal wing.

Phenology: Flowering: August-September; Fruiting: November.

Distribution: Common in the outskirts of forests throughout India, ascending up to 2000 m in the hills; Bangladesh, Pakistan.

Ecology and cultivation: Plant of tropical climate, grows in the midst of scrub jungles, rare; wild and planted.

Chemical contents: Tuber: furanoid norditerpenes, norditerpene glucosides, diosbulbinoside D & F, diosbulbin B & D, a new dihydrophenanthrene, d-sorbitol; Bulbil: diosgenin.

Remarks: Tubers are eaten as vegetable by the ethnic communities of Meghalaya, Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, Purulia and Medinipur districts of West Bengal, Varanasi, Mirzapur districts and Kumaon area of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Ratan Mahal Hills (Gujarat), Rajasthan, Cannanore district of Kerala and Mikirs (Assam), Santals (West Bengal) and Tharus (Uttar Pradesh).

Boiled bulbils are eaten by Mikirs and Santals as vegetable.


soumana datta said...

Is this also called shak aloo in bangla language and is sweet to taste? I remember peeling off the skin easily and eating it raw. Very tasty I must say

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