There are several species in the genus Dioscorea that are known as yams. The two most important ones in the Pacific are Dioscorea alata greater yam, water yam and Dioscorea esculenta lesser yam, potato yam. Both of these species originated in southeast Asia and very early were carried by voyagers into the Western Pacific and brought D. Yams continue to make an important contribution to nutrition and food security in most Pacific islands. There are five other Dioscorea species that are grown to some extent in the Pacific today: D. Didn't find the yam information you were looking for?
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Both wild and cultivated types now occur in tropical Africa as far as Zimbabwe, throughout West Africa from Guinea to southern Nigeria, being especially common in the latter and in Togo and the Ivory coast, and in East Africa from northern Ethiopia Eritrea to Mozambique, including Tanzania and Zanzibar. The centre of diversity of African yam bean is only in Africa. Nigeria has the highest production of African yam bean Potters, ; Abbey and Berezi; A vigorous, herbaceous, climbing vine reaching 1. The leaflets being up to 14cm in length and 5cm broad.