Description: These plants are vines that creep along the ground. They have alternate, heart-or arrow-shaped leaves. Their rootstock may be very large and weigh many kilograms.
Habitat and Distribution: True yams are restricted to tropical regions where they are an important food crop. Look for yams in fields, clearings, and abandoned gardens. They are found in rain forests, semievergreen seasonal forests, and scrub and thorn forests in the tropics. In warm temperate areas, they are found in seasonal hardwood or mixed hardwood-coniferous forests, as well as some mountainous areas.
Edible Parts: Boil the rootstock and eat it as a vegetable.
For information on a specific edible or medicinal plant, click on one of the links below: