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Dioscorea pentaphylla - Mountain yam

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Dioscorea pentaphylla 1.jpg

Dioscorea pentaphylla is a perennial climbing plant producing annual stems from a perennial rootstock. These stems scramble over the ground or twine into the surrounding vegetation. The plant is widely cultivated in tropical areas of Asia for its edible root. It is also harvested from the wild because its slender tubers render its cultivation more difficult.


Piles, Dysentery, Inflammation[1].

Parts Used

Root, Leaf, Whole Plant[1].

Chemical Composition

It contains the following constituents Phenols/Polyphenols, Flavonoids, Terpenoids, Tannins, Alkaloids and Saponins. Phenols and Saponins were invariably present in all the solvent extracts.[2]

Common names

Language Common name
Kannada ಕಾಡು ಗುಂಬಳ Kaadu gumbala
Hindi Kanta alu, Phal alu
Malayalam Kattukizhangu, Marakkizhangu
Tamil Kattu-valli, Nurai
Telugu Adavi ginusu tiga, Adavi gummadi tiga
Marathi Gaaboli, Mundavalya
Gujarathi Nano jungli kand, Vajnu kand
Punjabi NA
Kashmiri NA
Sanskrit Kantakaluka
English Mountain yam, Five Leaf Yam



Reference: Dravya - Substance, Rasa - Taste, Guna - Qualities, Veerya - Potency, Vipaka - Post-digesion effect, Karma - Pharmacological activity, Prabhava - Therepeutics.









Perennial climber



Kind Shape Feature



Type Size Color and composition Stamen More information
Flowering season from July to December


Type Size Mass Appearance Seeds More information
Fruiting season from July to December

Other features

List of Ayurvedic medicine in which the herb is used

Where to get the saplings

Mode of Propagation

Seeds, Cuttings of tubers.

How to plant/cultivate

Plants grow best in lowland tropical areas with a temperature around 26 - 34°c; A well-defined dry season of 2 - 5 months and a total rainfall of 1,300 - 1,700mm evenly distributed throughout the remainder of the year. For best yields, this species requires a deep, well-drained, sandy loam that is not liable to water-logging.[5]

Commonly seen growing in areas

Scrub forests, Forest margins.

Photo Gallery


  1. 1.0 1.1 ”Karnataka Medicinal Plants Volume-3” by Dr.M. R. Gurudeva, Page No.275, Published by Divyachandra Prakashana, #6/7, Kaalika Soudha, Balepete cross, Bengaluru
  2. Journal Paper National Library of Medicine - Bio-efficacy of Dioscorea pentaphylla from Midmid-Western Ghats, India
  3. Information from Flowers of India article
  4. [Morphology]
  5. Tropical The Ferns Information about Cultivation

External Links