The plant family Dioscoreaceae was named and described by Robert Brown in Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis in 1810.
Plants of the World Online lists four genera in the family Dioscoreaceae. They include Dioscorea, Stenomeris, Tacca, and Trichopus. My experience is with Tacca chantrieri (Black Bat Flower), Tacca integrifolia (White Bat Flower) and the wildflower Dioscorea villosa.
Wikipedia states the best-known member of this family is the yam and is commonly referred to as the yam family. In the US, we consider the yam to be a sweet potato, which is actually the species Ipomoea batatas which is a member of the plant family Convolvulaceae. Hmmm…
In this family, the genus Dioscorea “included” two species that are well known for their production of edible tubers, Dioscorea cayenensis and Dioscorea rotundata. Dioscorea cayenensis produced the yellow yam and Dioscorea rotundata produced white yams. Now, Dioscorea rotundata is a synonym of Dioscorea cayenensis. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention there are 630 accepted species in the Dioscorea genus listed in Plants of the World Online. Members of this genus are natives of many countries but Dioscorea cayenensis is native to parts of Africa.
For more information about this family of plants, please click on the links below. The links take you directly to the information about the family. You can click on the plant names below the photo to go to their own page.
I found a few Dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam) in the secluded woods on a friend’s farm in 2020.
Well, since I like weird plants, I decided I would try to Bat Flowers when I lived in Mississippi. This one, Tacca chantrieri (Black Bat Flower) bloomed in 2012.
The Tacca integrifolia (White Bat Flower) did not do as well and didn’t flower…
That’s all I have for the plant family Dioscoreaceae for now.