• H. Huber
Part of the The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants book series (FAMILIES GENERA, volume 3)


Geophytic, rhizomatous or more commonly tuberous perennials, the tuber with or without secondary growth; aerial shoot rather short-lived, twining or sometimes erect or procumbent. Leaves alternate, opposite or partly whorled, with a pair of fugaceous stipules or estipulate; the petiole typically with a pulvinus at each end; the blade mostly conduplicate in bud, frequently broad and often cordate, entire, palmately lobed or digitately compound; principal veins palmate, acro-, actinoor camptodromous; secondary veins transversal, connected by reticulate veinlets. Flowers usually dioecious (perfect in Stenomeris, which doubtfully belongs here), epigynous, usually inconspicuous, pedicellate with bracteolate or ebracteolate, not articulated pedicels, or sessile, arranged in axillary panicles, racemes, or spikes; the ultimate inflorescence units monochasial but often reduced to a single flower; perianth regular, trimerous, 2-whorled, tepals mostly similar; stamens arranged in 2 whorls of 3 or the inner whorl sterile or wanting; filaments distinct or attached to the tepals, rarely connate into a staminal column; anthers tetrasporangiate, introrsely or extrorsely dehiscent, the thecae sometimes widely separated by a broad connective, the latter usually exappendiculate (Stenomeris,see above, excepted); ovary syncarpous, 3-locular; style trifid or 3-lobed, rarely style branches 2-lobed or bifid, or stigmas nearly sessile; placentas axile; ovules anatropous, bitegmic, when more than 1 superposed and normally 2 in each loculus but numerous in Stenomeris. Fruit 3-locular with 2 seeds in each loculus (seeds numerous in Stenomeris),rarely 2 loculi sterile and the fertile one 1-seeded, capsular or (Tamus only) baccate, a unilocular samara in Rajania. Seeds spherical or compressed, in the latter case usually winged, with abundant horny, starch-free endosperm, the latter extremely hard by hemicellulose in Tam us; embryo small with a terminal plumula and a broad lateral cotyledon; seed coat with the mechanical tissue often derived from both integuments.


Staminate Flower Pistillate Flower Single Flower Extrafloral Nectary Stellate Hair 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Selected Bibliography

  1. Adanson, M. 1763. Familles des plantes. 2 vol. Paris: Vincent.Google Scholar
  2. Al-Shebaz, I.A., Schubert, B.G. 1989. The Dioscoreaceae in the Southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 70: 57–95.Google Scholar
  3. Archibald, E.E.A. 1967. The genus Dioscorea in the Cape Prov-ince west of East London. J. S. Afr. Bot. 33: 1–46.Google Scholar
  4. Ayensu, E.S. 1972. Dioscoreales. In: Metcalfe, C.R. (ed.) Anatomy of the monocotyledons, vol. 6. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  5. Barroso, G.M., Sucre, D., Guimaräes, E.F., Carvalho, L.F. de, et al. 1974. Flora de Guanabara. Familia Dioscoreaceae. Sellowia 25: 9–256.Google Scholar
  6. Barthlott, W., Frölich, D. 1983. Mikromorphologie und Orientierungsmuster epicuticularer Wachs-Kristalloide: ein neues systematisches Merkmal bei Monokotylen. Plant Syst. Evol. 142: 171–185.Google Scholar
  7. Bary, A. de 1877. Vergleichende Anatomie der Vegetationsorgane der Phanerogamen und Fame. Leipzig: W. Engelmann.Google Scholar
  8. Beccari, O. 1870. Nota sull embryone della Dioscoreacee. Nuov. G. Bot. Ital. 2: 149–155, pl. 4.Google Scholar
  9. Behnke, H.-D. 1965. Über das Phloem der Dioscoreaceen unter besonderer Berücksichtigung ihrer Phloembecken. I. Lichtoptische Untersuchungen zur Struktur der Phloembecken und ihrer Einordnung in das Sproßleitsystem. Z. Pflanzenphysiol. 53: 97–125. II. Elektronenoptische Untersuchungen zur Feinstruktur des Phloembeckens. l.c.: 214–244.Google Scholar
  10. Behnke, H.-D. 1981. Sieve-element characters. Nord. J. Bot. 1: 381–400.Google Scholar
  11. Bouman, F. 1995. Seed structure and systematics in Dioscoreales. In: Rudall, P.J., Cribb, P.J., Cutler, D.F., Humphries, C.J. (eds.) Monocotyledons. Systematics and evolution vol. 1. London: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, pp. 139–156.Google Scholar
  12. Brenner, W. 1914. Dioscoreaceae. In: Kirchner, 0., Loew, E., Schroeter, C. (eds.) Lebensgeschichte der Blütenpflanzen Mitteleuropas, Bd 13. Stuttgart: Enke.Google Scholar
  13. Britton, N.L., Brown, A. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British possessions, 2nd edn., vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  14. Brown, R. 1810. Prodromus florae novae Hollandiae. vol. 1. London: J. Johnson Co.Google Scholar
  15. Bucherer, E. 1889. Beiträge zur Morphologie und Anatomie der Dioscoreaceen. Bibl. Bot. Bd. 3, Heft 16. 34 pp.Google Scholar
  16. Burkill, I.H. 1937. The life cycle of Tamus communis L. J. Bot. (Lond.) 75: 1–12,33–34, 65–74.Google Scholar
  17. Burkill, I.H. 1939. Notes on the genus Dioscorea in the Belgian Congo. Bull. Jard. Bot. Brux. 15: 345–392.Google Scholar
  18. Burkill, I.H. 1946. Flies of the family Empidiae and other insect-visitors to the flowers of Tam us communis. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. 157: 99–102.Google Scholar
  19. Burkill, I.H. 1947. A plea for a description from life of the African Dioscorea minutiflora Engl. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. 159: 77–81.Google Scholar
  20. Burkill, I.H. 1951. Dioscoreaceae. In: van Steenis, C.G.G.J. (ed.) Fl. Malesiana I, 4: 293–335. Djakarta: Noordhoff.Google Scholar
  21. Burkill, I.H. 1960. The organography and the evolution of Dioscoreaceae, the family of the yams. J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 56: 319–412.Google Scholar
  22. Burkill, I.H., Perrier de la Bâthie, H. 1950. Dioscoréacées. In: Humbert, H. (ed.) Burkill, I.H., Perrier de la Bâthie, H 44e Famille.Google Scholar
  23. Castillon, L. 1927. Las dioscoreâceas argentinas. Bol. Mus. Hist. Nat. Univ. Nac. Tucumân 11: 1–41.Google Scholar
  24. Chin, H.-C., Chang, M-C., Ling, P.-P., Ting, C.-T., Dou, F.-P. 1985. A cytotaxonomic study on Chinese Dioscorea L. Acta Phytotaxon. Sin. 23: 11–18.Google Scholar
  25. Coursey, D.G. 1976. The origins and domestication of yams in Africa. In: Harlan, J.R., De Wit, J.M.J., Stemler, A.B.L. (eds.) Origins of African plant domestication. The Hague, Paris: Mouton Publ., pp. 383–408.Google Scholar
  26. Czaja, A.T. 1978. Stärke und Stärkespeicherung bei Gefäßpflanzen. Stuttgart: G. Fischer.Google Scholar
  27. Dahlgren, R. 1975. A system of classification of the angiosperms to be used to demonstrate the distribution of characters. Bot. Not. 128: 119–147.Google Scholar
  28. Dahlgren, R. 1980. A revised system of classification of the angiosperms. J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 80: 91–124.Google Scholar
  29. Dahlgren, R. et al. 1985. See general references.Google Scholar
  30. Daumann, E. 1970. See general references.Google Scholar
  31. Delpino, F. 1888. Funzione mirmecofila, Estratto della Ser. IV. T. VII delle Memorie della Reale Accad. delle Scienze dell’Ist. Bologna 1886: 46 sequ.Google Scholar
  32. De Wildeman, E. 1904. Sur l’acarophytisme chez les monocotylédones. C. R. Acad. Paris 139 (2): 551–552.Google Scholar
  33. Duchartre, P.E. 1854. Observations sur l’Igname batate. Bull. Soc. Bot. Fr. 1: 200.Google Scholar
  34. Gentner, G. 1905. Über die Vorläuferspitze der Monokotylen. Flora 95: 327–383, pl. 9.Google Scholar
  35. Herendeen, P.S., Crane, P.R. 1995. The fossil history of Monocotyledons. In: Rudall, P.J., Cribb, P.J., Cutler, D.F., Humphries, C.J. (eds.) Monocotyledons. Systematics and evolution, vol. 1. London: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, pp. 1–21.Google Scholar
  36. Huber, H. 1969, 1991. See general references.Google Scholar
  37. Hutchinson, J. 1934. The families of flowering plants. Vol. 2. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  38. Karsten, H. (G.K.W.H.) 1847. Vegetationsorgane der Palmen, note 2. Berlin: F. Schneider; p. 158.Google Scholar
  39. Jussieu, A.-L. de 1789. Genera plantarum. Paris: Hérissant et Barrois.Google Scholar
  40. Knuth, R. 1924. Dioscoreaceae. In: Engler, A. (ed.) Das Pflanzenreich, IV. 43. Leipzig: W. Engelmann.Google Scholar
  41. Koch, W., Bruhn, Ch. 1962. Über die Morphologie der Speicherorgane einiger mittelamerikanischer Dioscoreaceen. Flora 152: 670–678.Google Scholar
  42. Kunth, C.S. 1850. Dioscoreineae. Enumeratio Plantarum 5. Stuttgart J.G. Colla, pp. 323–456.Google Scholar
  43. Lawani, S.M., Odubanjo, M.O. 1976. A bibliography of yams and the genus Dioscorea. Ibadan.Google Scholar
  44. Lawton, J.R.S. 1967. A key of the Dioscorea species of Nigeria. J. W. Afr. Sci. Assoc. 12: 2–9.Google Scholar
  45. Lawton, J.R.S., Lawton, J.R. 1967. The morphology of the dormant embryo and young seedling of five species of Dioscorea from Nigeria. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. 178: 153–159.Google Scholar
  46. Ling, P.-P., Wu, Z.-J., Chin, H.-C. 1982. Some observations on the epidermis of Chinese Dioscorea and its taxonomical significance. Bull. Nanjing Bot. Gard. 1982: 9–16, pl. 1–5.Google Scholar
  47. Matuda, E. 1953. Las dioscoreas de México. Anal. Inst. Biol. Méx. 24: 279–390.Google Scholar
  48. McVaugh, R. 1989. Dioscoteaceae. In: Anderson, W.R. (ed.) Flora Novo-Galiciana 15: 355–388. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Herbarium.Google Scholar
  49. Milne-Redhead, E. 1975. Dioscoreaceae. In: Fl. of Tropical East Africa. London: Crown Agents.Google Scholar
  50. Mohl, H. von 1845. Der Mittelstock von Tamus Elephantipes. In: Vermischte Schriften. Tübingen: L.F. Fries, pp. 186–194.Google Scholar
  51. Orr, M.Y. 1926. On the secretory organs of Dioscoreaceae. Notes Bot. Gard. Edinb. 15: 133–146. pl. 215.Google Scholar
  52. Pedrali, G. 1992. A familia Dioscoreaceae (R. Br.) Lindley no Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil. Caderno Pesquisas Ser. Bot. (Sta. Cruz do Sul) 4: 13–77.Google Scholar
  53. Pei Chien, Ting, C.-T., Chin, H.-C., Su, P., Tang, S.-Y., Chang, H.-C. 1979. A preliminary systematic study of Dioscorea L. sect. Stenophora Uline. Acta Phytotaxon. Sin. 17, 3: 61–72.Google Scholar
  54. Prain, D., Burkill, I.H. 1919. “Dioscorea sativa”. Bull. Misc. Inf. Kew 1919: 339–375.Google Scholar
  55. Prain, D., Burkill, I.H. 1934. Dioscoreaceae. In: Lecomte, H., Humbert, H., Gagnepain, P. (eds.) Flore Générale d’IndoChine 6: 698–745.Google Scholar
  56. Prain, D., Burkill, I.H. 1936–1939. An account of the genus Dioscorea in the east. Part I. The species twining to the left. Part II. Species twining to the right. Ann. R. Bot. Gard. Calcutta 14, Pt. 1 2. Bengal Governmt. Press: Alipore. 528 pp., 150 pl.Google Scholar
  57. Purnima, A, Srivasava, A.K. 1985. Leaf epidermal studies in Dioscorea Linn. Acta Bot. Indica 13: 171–180.Google Scholar
  58. Queva, C. 1894. Recherches sur l’anatomie de l’appareil végetatif des taccacées et des dioscorées. Thèse. Lille.Google Scholar
  59. Ramirez Rodrigues, R., Téllez Valdéz, 0. 1992. Las dioscôreas ( Dioscoreaceae) del Estado de Morelos, México. Anal. Inst. Biol. Méx. 63: 67–99.Google Scholar
  60. Reiche, K. 1908. Zur Kenntnis der Dioscoreaceen-Gattung Epipetrum Phil. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 42: 178–190.Google Scholar
  61. Rübsamen, T. 1986. Morphologische, embryologische und systematische Untersuchungen an Burmanniaceae und Corsiaceae (Mit Ausblick auf die Orchidaceae-Apostasioideae). Diss. Bot. 92.Google Scholar
  62. Santapau, H. 1951. The genus Dioscorea in Bombay State. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 49: 624–636.Google Scholar
  63. Seidemann, J. 1966. Stärkeatlas. Hamburg: P. Parey.Google Scholar
  64. Sharma, O.P. 1976. Tuber versus bulbil of Dioscorea glabra–origin, development, sprouting and morphology. Phyto-morphology 26: 87–96.Google Scholar
  65. Sharma, O.P. 1978. Ontogeny and morphology of bulbil and its seedling tuber in Dioscorea melanophyma. Phytomorphology 28: 192–197.Google Scholar
  66. Sharma, O.P. 1980. Ontogeny and morphology of the tuber of Dioscorea floribunda Mart. et Gal. Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. ( Plant Sci. ) 89: 47–55.Google Scholar
  67. Smith, P.M. 1916. The development of the embryo and seedling of Dioscorea villosa. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 43: 545–558.Google Scholar
  68. Solms-Laubach, H. Graf zu 1881. Über monocotyle Embryonen mit scheitelbürtigem Vegetationspunkt. Bot. Zeitung 36: 66–76, 81–93, pl. 4.Google Scholar
  69. Sparshott, E.N. 1935. Observations on the formation, development, and structure of the tuber of Testudinaria elephantipes, and on the origin of the vegetative shoot. J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 49: 593–610, pl. 32.Google Scholar
  70. Su, P. 1987. Pollen morphology of Dioscorea in China. Acta Phytotaxon. Sin. 25: 357–365, pls. 1–4 (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  71. Takhtajan, A.L. 1982. See general references.Google Scholar
  72. Teichman, I. von, van der Schijff, H.P., Robbertse, P.J. 1975. The genus Dioscorea in South Africa. Boissiera 24: 215–224.Google Scholar
  73. Telford, I.R.H. 1986. Dioscoreaceae. In: George, A.S. (ed.) Fl. Australia 46: 196–202. Canberra: Australian Governm. Publish. Service.Google Scholar
  74. Tillich, H.-J. 1980. Vergleichend-morphologische Untersuchungen an Keimpflanzen von Liliopsida (Monocotyledoneae). Thesis (Diss. Prom. B). Mühlhausen: Pädagogische Hochschule.Google Scholar
  75. Ting, C.-T., Chang, M.-C., Ling, P.-P. 1985. Dioscoreaceae. In: Pei, C., Ting, C.-T. (eds.) Fl. Republ. Pop. Sin. 16 (1): 54–120.Google Scholar
  76. Trouslot, M.F., Champagnat, M., Tort, M., Loiseau, M., Eraud, C. 1993. Developmental morphology of seedlings of Dioscorea cayenensis-D. rotundata complex. Phytomorphology 43: 49–57.Google Scholar
  77. Uline, E.B. 1897. Dioscoreaceae. In: Engler, A., Prantl, K. (eds.) Nat. Pflanzenfam., Nachtr. zu II, 5: 80–87. Leipzig: W. Engelmann.Google Scholar
  78. Uline, E.B. 1898. Eine Monographie der Dioscoreaceen. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 25: 126–165.Google Scholar
  79. Watt, G. 1890. A dictionary of the economic products of India, vol. 3. London: Allen, pp. 115–136.Google Scholar
  80. Xifreda, C.C. 1991. Sobre la presencia de una “vaina cristalffera” en el tallo de algunas especies de Dioscorea ( Dioscoreaceae ). Darwiniana 30: 137–142.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Huber

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations