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Dioscorea pentaphylla

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Dioscorea pentaphylla is a species of flowering plant in the yam family known by the common name fiveleaf yam. It is native to southern and eastern Asia (China, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Philippines, etc.) as well as New Guinea and northern Australia. It is widely cultivated as a food crop and naturalized in Cuba and on several island chains in the Pacific (including Hawaii).<ref name=j>Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families</ref><ref name=feis>Gucker, Corey L. 2009. Dioscorea spp. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.</ref><ref>Flora of China, Vol. 24 Page 289, 五叶薯蓣 wu ye shu yu, Dioscorea pentaphylla Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1032. 1753. </ref><ref>Smith, A.C. (1979). Flora Vitiensis Nova. A new flora for Fiji (Spermatophytes only) 1: 1-495. Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai.</ref><ref>Morat, P. & Veillon, J.-M. (1985). Contributions à la conaissance de la végétation et de la flore de Wallis et Futuna. Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Section B, Adansonia 7: 259-329.</ref><ref>Tanaka, N., Koyama, T. & Murata, J. (2005). The flowering plants of Mt. Popa, central Myanmar - Results of Myanmar-Japanese joint expeditions, 2000-2004. Makinoa 5: 1-102.</ref><ref>Samanta, A.K. (2006). The genus Dioscorea L. in Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas - a census. Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 30: 555-563.</ref><ref>Govaerts, R., Wilkin, P. & Saunders, R.M.K. (2007). World Checklist of Dioscoreales. Yams and their allies: 1-65. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.</ref><ref>Wilkin, P. & Thapyai, C. (2009). Flora of Thailand 10(1): 1-140. The Forest Herbarium, National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Bangkok.</ref><ref>Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.</ref>

Dioscorea pentaphylla is a prickly vine that twines counterclockwise around objects and other plants. It may reach 10 meters in length. The alternately arranged leaves are compound, divided into 3 to 5 leaflets each up to 10 centimeters long. The plant produces horseshoe-shaped bulbils about a centimeter long. New plants can sprout from the bulbils. Flowers are borne in spikes. The vine grows from a tuber. Specimens may weigh 3 pounds and may be located over a meter underground.<ref name=feis/>

The tubers of the vine can be cooked and eaten.<ref name=ethno>Dioscorea pentaphylla. University of Michigan Ethnobotany.</ref>



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