Amorphophallus paeoniifolius: Yam

Family: Araceae
Common name: Elephant foot yam, Yam, Whitespot giant arum

A popular tuber crop grown mostly in the Asian continent, Elephant foot yam plant looks as good as any garden plant. The plant has a single long stem ending in umbrella-like radiating pinnately-compound leaves.

The flower is even more interesting; almost an architectural marvel.
A bulbous yellow protrusion from the ground, with deep purple flowers; it has a very foul smell, almost like that of rotting meat, to attract pollinating insects and birds. The flowers grow directly from the yam if it’s not harvested for a year.

The corm or actual vegetable is big, brown and warty. It’s mainly used as food, in curries, pickles and chutneys. The flowers are also used in many Indian cuisines. Yam also has medicinal uses in Ayurveda and Unani medicines.

The vegetable is rich in fibers and helps relieve constipation, cramps and other stomach ailments. It’s also a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Yam is said to help in weight loss and balancing blood sugar.

Propagation is by cutting the yam into a few segments each having a portion of the central core. Each piece will then grow into a new plant.

Photo Courtesy:, Paulsy Willy

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