Types of yam in Nigeria and their botanical name

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Yam is one of the stable foods in Nigeria that can be used for many thing things. It can eat boiled or processed into flakes.

As one of the top five exporter of yam, Nigeria has deferent types of yam which ranges from bitter yam to sweet yam.

If you are reading this article it means you want to know the deferent type of yam in Nigeria including their botanical name and that’s just what this article is all about, you can rest assure that you will get all the details of yam varieties in Nigeria

Types of yam in Nigeria

1) White yam (discorea rotundata)
Our first pick is the most common species of yam in Nigeria popularly known has white yam.

As the name implies it has white colour and have moderate taste. it is the best choice for pounded yam because of it stickiness and usually sort after for making starch.

Averagely it weighs between 3 to 5 kg and can go as far as 7kg if planted in a fertile land.

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Summary / characteristics of white yam

  • It can be planted in Nigeria
  • It has long vein and the inside is white
  • It is the best choice for pounded yam
  • It average weight is between 3kg to 5kg

Were you can find it: southern Nigeria

2) Yellow yam (discorea cayanensis)
This is the second most popular yam in Nigeria; it is yellow in colour and has a sweet yam taste.

If you want a yam that will fill your stomach quickly it is the best choice as it has been proved that a person will drink at least a full cup of water when eating yellow yam.

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It is mostly found in southwestern Nigeria and can also weigh 3 to 5 kg averagely and can go as high as 7kg.

Summary/ characteristics of yellow yam

  • It is the best choice for boiled yam
  • It can also grow as high as 7kg
  • It is planted in Nigeria
  • Where you can find it: southern Nigeria

3) Purple yam (discorea alata)
Discorea alata is not popular in Nigeria perhaps dues to it length of growth which usually take 10 months, it is purple in colour and gives out a lot of water when pressed.

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It is not good for pounded yam and people rarely eat it. If you are a farmer I will advise you not to plant it as there is less demand for it.

Summary/ characteristics of purple yam

  • It inside is purple
  • It takes time before it reaches table size
  • People rarely eat it
  • Where you can find it: anywhere in Nigeria but predominant in the south

4) Bitter yam (Discorea tumetorum)
This is popular in south western part of Nigeria and it is known as bitter yam or “Esuru”.

It is white in colour and requires less labor and time to plant usually between 3 to 5 month.

You should take caution when eating or harvesting water yam; hard bitter yam should not be eaten as well as wild bitter yam because they are poisonous.

Summary of water yam
It has a slight bitter taste
It is grown in southwestern Nigeria
It takes short time to reach table size

5) Discorea esculenta (lesser yam)
This is not common in Nigeria even in Africa; it is small in size and has shape like human toe at the end.

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If you are a farmer I will advise you not to plant this because there is less demand for it. Lesser yam is grown in large quantities in Asia.

Summary of lesser yam

  • It is predominant in Asia
  • It has a small size
  • It reaches table size early

Uses of yam in Nigeria

  • It can be eaten after boiled
  • It can be pounded together to form Iyan” (pounded yam)
  • It can be process into flour e.g. elubo
  • It can be process into industrial starch
  • It can be used to make porridge

Which state produce yam in Nigeria?

The top state that produce yam in Nigeria is Benue the food basket of the nation the others are
Ogun
Kwara
Ondo
Osun
Plateau
Oyo
Cross River
Adamawa
Delta
Ekiti
Imo
Edo
Kaduna

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