Dioscorea glabra (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Dioscorea glabra Roxburgh

Family: Dioscoreaceae


Dioscorea siamensis R. Knuth.

Vernacular names

  • Thailand: man-dong (central), that, man-sai (southern).


From India, through Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand, to Peninsular Malaysia.


Tubers are used for food in Peninsular Malaysia and in the Andaman Islands. They have a glutinous texture due to the characteristics of the starch.


Perennial, dioecious, glabrous herb with stem armed at the base, twining to the right, up to 8 m long. Tubers usually single, deep in the soil on a long stalk, cylindrical, up to 50 cm long, 4 cm in diameter, with white flesh. Leaves simple, opposite or alternate, herbaceous; petiole usually 4-5 cm; blade long-cordate, up to 14 cm × 16 cm, with rounded, auriculate base. Male flowering axes 1-4 together, usually on leafless branches, up to 70 cm long, rarely in axillary fascicles, up to 4 cm long, with about 25 sessile flowers each. Female flowering axes solitary or in pairs, up to 40 cm long, with more than 50 flowers. Capsule wings 15-18 mm × 14-20 mm.

In general D. glabra is common. It is often difficult to distinguish from D. nummularia Lamk; its leaf blades are usually longer, and dry leaves and capsules are glaucous green (red-brown in D. nummularia ).

Selected sources

11, 49, 81, 94.


L.E. Groen, J.S. Siemonsma & P.C.M. Jansen