yam


yam
/yam/, n.
1. the starchy, tuberous root of any of various climbing vines of the genus Dioscorea, cultivated for food in warm regions.
2. any of these plants.
3. the sweet potato.
4. Scot. potato (def. 1).
[1580-90; cf. Gullah nyam, Jamaican E nyaams, Sranan jamsi < sources in one or more West African languages (cf. Wolof nyam(nyam), Fulani nyami to eat, Twi enãm flesh, ànyinam, ayam'kàw-dé kinds of yam; earlier E forms < Pg inhame or Sp (i)ñame]

* * *

Any of several plant species of the genus Dioscorea (family Dioscoreaceae, or yam family), native to warmer regions of both hemispheres.

A number of species are cultivated for food in the tropics; in certain tropical cultures, notably of West Africa and New Guinea, the yam is the primary agricultural commodity and the focal point of elaborate ritual. The edible tuberous roots, which vary in taste from sweet to bitter to tasteless, are eaten as cooked starchy vegetables. Often boiled and then mashed, they may also be fried, roasted, or baked. True yams are botanically distinct from the sweet potato, though in the U.S. the names are commonly interchanged. Dioscorea mexicana contains a chemical that can suppress ovulation in humans and is used as the basis for birth-control pills. The so-called yam bean is the legume jicama.

* * *

plant
      any of several plant species of the genus Dioscorea (family Dioscoreaceae), native to warmer regions of both hemispheres. A number of species are cultivated for food in the tropics; in certain tropical cultures, notably of West Africa and New Guinea, the yam is the primary agricultural commodity and the focal point of elaborate ritual.

      True yams are botanically distinct from the sweet potato (q.v.), but moist-fleshed varieties of sweet potato are often called yams in the United States. D. bulbifera, the air-potato yam, is one of the few true yams cultivated for food in the United States. Yams have thick tubers (generally a development of the base of the stem), from which protrude long, slender, annual, climbing stems bearing leaves, which are either alternate or opposite and either entire or lobed and unisexual flowers in long clusters. The flowers are generally small and individually inconspicuous, though collectively showy. Each consists of a greenish, bell-shaped or flat perianth of six pieces, enclosing six or fewer stamens in the male flowers and surmounting a three-celled, three-winged ovary in the female flowers. The ovary ripens into a membranous capsule, bursting by three valves to liberate numerous flattish or globose seeds.

      Most yams contain an acrid principle that is dissipated in cooking. D. trifida and D. alata are the edible species most widely diffused in tropical and subtropical countries. The tubers of D. alata sometimes weigh 45 kg (100 pounds). D rotundata and D. cayenensis are the main yam species grown in West Africa. D. esculenta, grown on the subcontinent of India, in southern Vietnam, and in the South Pacific islands, is one of the tastiest yams. D. batatas, the Chinese yam, or cinnamon vine, is widely cultivated in East Asia.

      Hundreds of species of yams are known, and they vary widely in taste and appearance. Yams' flesh ranges in colour from white to yellow, pink, or purple. They vary in taste from sweet to bitter to tasteless. Yams are consumed as cooked starchy vegetables. They are often boiled and then mashed into a sticky paste or dough, but they may also be fried, roasted, or baked in the manner of potatoes.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Yam! — Yam Beschreibung Jugendzeitschrift, alles über Pop Musik, Film und Fernsehen, Lebenshilfe und Partnerschaft Verlag Axel Springer Verlag Erstausgabe 13. September 2000 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Yam.de — Yam Beschreibung Jugendzeitschrift, alles über Pop Musik, Film und Fernsehen, Lebenshilfe und Partnerschaft Verlag Axel Springer Verlag Erstausgabe 13. September 2000 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Yam — may refer to:*Yam (vegetable), common name for members of Dioscorea *Sweet potato, particularly in its yellow or orange fleshed cultivars *Yam (god), a Levantine deity *Yam (route), a Mongolian supply point system *A colloquially New Zealand term …   Wikipedia

  • YAM — bezeichnet: Yams, Nutzpflanze der Pflanzengattung Dioscorea, auch Yams oder Yamswurzel Yam (Zeitschrift), deutsches Jugendmagazin Yam (Fluss), Fluss im Nordosten von Thailand Yam (Festival), internationales Young Art Meeting Yam (Ägyptische… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Yam — bezeichnet: Yams, Nutzpflanze der Pflanzengattung Dioscorea, auch Yams oder Yamswurzel Yam (Zeitschrift), deutsches Jugendmagazin Yam (Fluss), Fluss im Nordosten von Thailand Yam (Festival), internationales Young Art Meeting YAM bezeichnet: Yet… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Yam — (y[a^]m), n. [Pg. inhame, probably from some native name.] 1. (Bot.) A large, esculent, farinaceous tuber of various climbing plants of the genus {Dioscorea}; also, the plants themselves. Mostly natives of warm climates. The plants have netted… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • yam — [yam] n. [Port inhame, prob. < WAfr native name] 1. a) the edible, starchy, tuberous root of any of several tropical climbing plants (genus Dioscorea) of the yam family, widely grown in the tropics for food b) any of these plants 2. any of… …   English World dictionary

  • yam — (n.) 1580s, from Port. inhame or Sp. igname, from a West African language (Cf. Fulani nyami to eat; Twi anyinam species of yam ); the word in American and Jamaican English probably is directly from West African sources …   Etymology dictionary

  • YAM — may refer to:* Yet Another Mailer a MIME compliant email client written for AmigaOS based computers. * The IATA code for Sault Ste. Marie Airport, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.* Is also used as an abbreviation for Your Mum …   Wikipedia

  • yam — s.m. Denumire engl. pentru ignamă; rădăcina comestibilă, groasă, lungă de până la un metru şi în greutate de până la 1 kg, de culoare brună sau gălbuie roşcată, a unei plante cultivate în America de Sud, Africa şi Asia (Dioscorea batatas), bogată …   Dicționar Român


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.