3. Udderly Weird Yam

Image courtesy of Claude Marcel Hladik (tuber) and Richard Randrianaivo (male flowering plant)

Name: Dioscorea orangeana

Common Name: Angona (Also used for other yam species of northern Madagascar)

Family: Dioscoreaceae

How it made the Top 10: Dioscorea orangeana is a new species of edible yam found in Madagascar.  Its tuber morphology is uncharacteristic of Malagasy yams exhibiting several digitate lobes instead of just one.  Although newly described, the authors suggest that it should be Red Listed as Critically Endangered, since it’s heavily harvested and growing in unprotected habitat.

Reference: Wilkin, P., A. Hladik, O. Weber, C.M. Hladik and V. Jeannoda. 2009. Dioscorea orangeana (Dioscoreaceae), a new and threatened species of edible yam from northern Madagascar. Kew Bulletin 64(3):461-468.

Type Material: Holotype – Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle. Isotypes – Missouri Botanical Garden and Parc de Tsimbazaza, Antananarivo, Madagascar.

Type Locality: Madagascar, Antsiranana Province, Orangea.

Etymology: “The vernacular name Angona is also applied to Dioscorea sambiranensis R. Knuth (Burkill & Perrier 1950) amongst other species. Thus the epithet orangeana was chosen to reflect the endemic distribution of the species in the Forêt d’Orangea.”

For more information on this species please visit Kew.

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