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Dioscorea orangeana (Angona)

Dioscorea orangeana is a newly described, threatened species of edible yam from northern Madagascar.
Living Dioscorea orangeana plant photographed in habitat

Living plant photographed in habitat. (Photo: Richard Randrianaivo)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Dioscorea orangeana Wilkin

Common name: 

Angona (Antakarana, Sakalava, Forêt d’Orangea) (however, more than one species of wild yam in the area shares this name).

Conservation status: 

Provisional IUCN Red List assessment of CR (Critically Endangered) (IUCN 2011).

Habitat: 

Deciduous forest, on sand.

Key Uses: 

Dioscorea orangeana is reported to be edible.

Known hazards: 

None.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Lilianae
Order: 
Dioscoreales
Family: 
Dioscoreaceae
Genus: Dioscorea

About this species

Dioscorea orangeana was named by Kew botanist Paul Wilkin with colleagues from France and Madagascar, the scientific name referring to the forest in which it occurs (Forêt d’Orangea).

Despite a collection of this species having been made as long ago as 1960, it was only when Dr Wilkin studied this specimen in 2003, and compared it with material collected subsequently, that he discovered it was a new species of yam. This was suggested by preliminary observations that the leaf margins were often undulate (wavy), unlike most other yams in Madagascar. It was confirmed by investigating the size ranges of a number of the plant’s organs.

Genus: 
Dioscorea

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