Dioscorea laurifolia (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Dioscorea laurifolia Wallich ex Hook.f.

Family: Dioscoreaceae

Vernacular names

  • Ghost's benzoin climber (En)
  • Malaysia: akar kemenyan hantu, kemenyan batu, akar kemahang.


Peninsular Malaysia.


In Peninsular Malaysia the tubers are used for food. In traditional medicine the raw tubers are used for poulticing sores, swellings and bites.


Perennial, dioecious, slender herb, with unarmed stem, twining to the right. Tubers 1-2, not descending very deeply into the soil, with pink to red flesh. Leaves simple, alternate, coriaceous; petiole less than half of the length of the blade; blade lanceolate-ovate, but quite variable, sometimes auricled at the base, up to 16 cm × 5 cm. Male flowering spikes negatively geotropic, axes usually on leafless branches, up to 7 cm long, with 40-60 sessile flowers. Female flowering axes 1-2 together, up to 10 cm long. Capsule relatively large, 5 cm × 2.5 cm, wings up to 27 mm × 24 mm. It is common in the mountains of Peninsular Malaysia, up to 1200 m altitude. Flowers exhibit a strong scent of benzoin.

Selected sources

13, 22.


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