Dioscorea pentaphylla L., Sp. Pl. 1032 (1753)
Species name meaning 'with five leaves' referring to the palmately compound leaves.
Botryosicyos pentaphyllus (L.) Hochst.
Dioscorea changjiangensis F.W.Xing & Z.X.Li
Dioscorea codonopsidifolia Kamik.
Dioscorea digitata Mill.
Dioscorea globifera R.Knuth
Dioscorea jacquemontii Hook.f.
Dioscorea kleiniana Kunth
Dioscorea pentaphylla var. cardonii Prain & Burkill
Dioscorea pentaphylla var. communis Prain & Burkill
Dioscorea pentaphylla var. hortorum Prain & Burkill
Dioscorea pentaphylla var. jacquemontii (Hook.f.) Prain & Burkill
Dioscorea pentaphylla var. kussok Prain & Burkill
Dioscorea pentaphylla var. linnaei Prain & Burkill
Dioscorea pentaphylla var. malaica Prain & Burkill
Dioscorea pentaphylla var. papuana Burkill
Dioscorea pentaphylla var. rheedei Prain & Burkill
Dioscorea pentaphylla var. simplicifolia Prain & Burkill
Dioscorea pentaphylla var. suli Prain & Burkill
Dioscorea pentaphylla var. thwaitesii Prain & Burkill
Dioscorea pentaphylla var. unifoliata R.Knuth
Dioscorea spinosa Burm.
Dioscorea triphylla L.
Hamatris triphylla (L.) Salisb.
Ubium quadrifarium J.F.Gmel.
Ubium scandens J.St.-Hil.
Liana. Tubers irregular, usually long ovoid; transverse section white when fresh, becoming brown; roots
fibrous. Stem twining to left, sparsely puberulent, glabrescent, prickly. Bulblets present. Leaves alternate,
palmately 3--7-foliolate; petiole 5--11 cm, densely reddish brown pubescent; leaflets ovate to lanceolate,
6.5--24 x 1.5--9 cm, adaxially glabrous, abaxially appressed pubescent, sometimes glabrescent, pinnately
veined, base attenuate into a +/- tomentose petiolule, margin entire, apex acute. Male spikes in axillary
panicles to 50 cm, often with long, lateral branches; axis brown pubescent. Male flowers: sessile or
subsessile; bract and bracteole reniform, forming an involucel around perianth, sparsely hairy, apex
cuspidate; stamens 3. Female spikes simple or branched, brown puberulent. Female flowers: bracts, perianth,
and ovary hairy. Capsule black at maturity, long ellipsoid, 2--2.5 cm, thinly leathery, sparsely hairy;
wings 0.5--0.6 cm wide. Seeds inserted near apex of capsule; wing pointing toward capsule base.
[from Flora of China]
Scrub forests, forest margins; degraded deciduous forests and waste places, also in sacred groves; up to
1500 m elevation. Stems scramble over the ground, or twine into the surrounding vegetation.
It is widely cultivated as a food crop. The tubers of the vine can be cooked and eaten. The tubers weigh
up to 2kg each. The tubers, which creep along just beneath the soil surface, are sometimes very long
(up to 1.3 metres) and thin. Male inflorescences and young leaves are sometimes eaten. The juice of the
plant is applied to boils. A decoction of the plant is applied to swellings. A paste of the leaves made
with mustard oil is rubbed into affected areas for the treatment of rheumatism (Chakma). Tubers are tonic;
used in swelling, rheumatism and as hair wash for killing lice. Plant is used in dropsy and anasarca.
Paste of the plant mixed with oil is used to treat rheumatic pain by the Chakma.
From India, southern China and Japan into Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, all the way to
Australia and western Pacific.
Bangladesh: Suaralu, Jhumalu, Jhunihana lata, Vutta ludi (Chakma), Jhunjhuma lata (Chakma), kanta Alu
(Chakma), Tha kon (Tripura), Bow Su Da Uo (Marma).
China: Wu ye shu yu.
English: Buck yam, Fiveleaf yam.