Potato Yams


A remarkable yam variety was given to me a few days ago by a friend:


Those are potato yams, AKA “the lesser yam.” They are not sweet potatoes, but a true yam that which in clusters. Its Latin name is Dioscorea esculenta.

The potato yam grows a cluster of roots around a small, central “head” from which the main vine emerges. Each of these roots can be cut off and planted to create a new cluster of roots.

Unlike the greater yam, the lesser yam has very tender skin which can be eaten. The tubers cook rapidly and can be used like a white potato.

All of the roots in the photo above (save two) were planted in beds yesterday. The two I kept back we’re going to eat so we can see how they taste.

It’s a lot of fun finding new vegetable varieties. You can see more of these yams in my latest video:

Tomorrow I hope to post another video on yam propagation.

We planted buckets of yam roots yesterday morning, hacking great big beds into the hillside down by the river. It was brutal work but very satisfying.

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  • Excellent article as usual, David! I have a question- when you cut up the tubers for planting, do you dust them with wood ash or anything before planting? Or just set them out as-is? Many thanks, Trish V 🙂

    • Yes, I dip them in ashes. I’m uploading a yam propagation video right now – it should be on YouTube within an hour.

      • Thank you, I really need to practice more patience and wait to see what your next articles are about before asking questions! 🙂

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