Dioscorea villosa – Famine Foods

Dioscorea villosa

Dioscorea hirtiflora


Sierra Leone; Nigeria (northern): eaten as a famine food. Method of preparation and part of plant used not given [probably tuber]. Mozambique (Macossa and Tambara districts): tubers dug up, cleaned and sliced. The slices may be eaten raw or cooked. When cooked, they can be added [to] nsima – a porridge to which may also contain tomatoes, onions and other ingredients. The tubers are detoxified, by soaking in salt water for a day. They are then peeled, sun-dried and ground into a powder that is used for making nsima, a staple porridge.

Additional Information

Name Authority:
Mozambique (Manyika/Shona): Munyanya
Chemical composition: the tubers contain an alkaloid dioscorine and the saponin diocine. Toxins, in the raw tubers, are reported to cause serious stomach problems; headaches; and lesions in the mouth.

 Plant Classification Group:
 Plant References:

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