Bush Yams in Western- and Central Africa

Synonym: D. cayenensis var. praehensilis; Common names: Kisadi, sadi, bisadi (Kongo), igname de brousse (Fr.), bush yams, forest yam

Description

A sturdy climbing plant, up to 15 m long, growing from a large tuber which often protrudes from the ground. The latter is armed with curving, protective, spiny roots that arise from the top of the tuber. Stems are hairless, purplish-green, and lightly ribbed longitudinally. The tuber has white flesh tinged yellow and may be either oblong or round. Leaves are 4 – 10 x 3 – 5 cm.

Ecology

Grows wild in forests and gallery forests from Sierra Leone to Nigeria and in Gabon and the Congo.

Uses

The young shoots growing from the vine are eaten like asparagus in Kongo Central. In Congo (Brazzaville) the older stems are cut up and an infusion is used for stomach complaints, urethral discharge, and oedemas. Tuber flesh is bitter and only eaten after careful preparation and usually as a famine food.

Young shoots harvested for eating near Kintudi

References

Dalziel 1937, Renier 1948, Coursey 1967, Burkill 1985, van der Burg 2004, Kibungu Kembelo 2010