Yellow Guinea Yam

Dioscorea cayennensis

Family: Dioscoreaceae
Genus: Dioscorea (dy-oh-SKOR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: cayennensis (kae-yen-EN-sis) (Info)



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Vines and Climbers

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade




Foliage Color:

Dark Green


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Suitable for growing in containers

This plant is suitable for growing indoors



Bloom Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 15, 2017, Ted_B from Birmingham, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

The yellow starch of the tubers of this species is regarded for its flavor in its native Africa and Indian subcontinent. This food crop eventually made its way to the Caribbean islands, where it remains in cultivation today. My specimen started life as a 50-60g "minisett", being a piece cut from the end of a tuber purchased from a tropical foods market. The open end was dipped in sand moistened with a neem oil solution, and the cutting kept sealed in plastic wrap in a warm place until tiny roots began to sprout within a few weeks. The tuber cutting was then placed in a pot with well draining soil, overwintered indoors, and kept gently moist.

The tuber cutting developed roots within its pot over a period of several months, with a vine eventually emerging when ambient tempera... read more


On Oct 8, 2002, Michaelp from Piney Flats, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Roots are delicious/grows higher and farther than all the rest of my Dioscorea plants.Has thorny stems /longer and more pointed leaves/a little slow geting started but realy makes up for it once it starts. Requires 100 cm of water well distributed throughout the growing season.Start new plants by cuting pieces off the tubers/will not tollerate any frost /should be mulched to protect from extreems/needs rich well drained soil/can be grown in mulch w/composted manure,and brought in for the winter. Roots should be cooked before eating.[this Yam does not produce aerial tubers]feb/8/04 I just dug up some of the tubers ,first year roots were about 2-4 lbs,and second year roots were 7 to 8 lbs.