Dioscorea japonica

  (Redirected from Japanese mountain yam)

Dioscorea japonica, known as East Asian mountain yam,[1] yamaimo, or Japanese mountain yam, is a type of yam (Dioscorea) native to Japan (including Ryukyu and Bonin Islands), Korea, China, Taiwan, and Assam.[2][3]

Dioscorea japonica
Dioscorea Japonica (Yamaimo) 3.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Dioscoreales
Family: Dioscoreaceae
Genus: Dioscorea
D. japonica
Binomial name
Dioscorea japonica
Thunb. 1784

Dioscorea japonica is used for food. Jinenjo, also called the wild yam, is a related variety of Japanese yam that is used as an ingredient in soba noodles.


In Japanese, it is known as yamaimo (山芋) "mountain yam".[4]

jinenjo (自然薯) "wild yam" is another kind of Dioscorea japonica, which is native to fields and mountains in Japan.

In Chinese it is known as Yěshān yào (野山药) which translates to English as wild mountain medicine.[citation needed] Another name is rìběnshǔyù (literally Japanese yam; 日本[3])

In Korean it is known as cham ma 참마, as well as dang ma 당마.[citation needed]


Dioscorea japonica contains the antimutagenic compounds eudesmol and paeonol.[5]


Several formal botanical varieties have been proposed. Four are accepted:[2][3]

  1. Dioscorea japonica var. japonica - Japan, Korea, Ryukyu, Bonin, Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Zhejiang
  2. Dioscorea japonica var. nagarum Prain & Burkill - Assam
  3. Dioscorea japonica var. oldhamii R.Knuth - Guangdong, Guangxi, Taiwan
  4. Dioscorea japonica var. pilifera C.T.Ting & M.C.Chang - Anhui, Fujian, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Zhejiang


In Japanese cuisine, both the Japanese yam and the introduced Chinese yam are used interchangeably in dishes and recipes.[6]


  1. ^ English Names for Korean Native Plants (PDF). Pocheon: Korea National Arboretum. 2015. p. 442. ISBN 978-89-97450-98-5. Retrieved 4 January 2017 – via Korea Forest Service.
  2. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ a b c "Dioscorea japonica in Flora of China @ efloras.org". Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
  4. ^ Ohwi, Jisaburo (1965). Meyer, Frederick G.; Walker, Egbert H. (eds.). Flora of Japan. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. p. 314. OCLC 742327504. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
  5. ^ Antimutagenic Activity of (+)-β-Eudesmol and Paeonol from Dioscorea japonica. Mitsuo Miyazawa, Hideo Shimamura, Sei-ichi Nakamura and Hiromu Kameoka, J. Agric. Food Chem., 1996, 44 (7), pages 1647–1650, doi:10.1021/jf950792u
  6. ^ Itoh, Makiko (2015-07-15). "'Yamaimo': Japan's slimy mountain yam". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2019-06-07.