Aerial Yam: Simple Facts, Uses You Want To Know

aerial yam

Aerial yam  is a type of yam, it belongs to the Dioscoreaceae family as the other types of yam such as 

The botanical name for aerial yam is Dioscorea bulbifera.

This type of yam is found in Nigeria and in other African and Asian countries.

Aerial yam is known by other names such as air yam, air potatoes, cheeky yam, 

Although it’s referred to as air potatoes by some, aerial yams are not potatoes.


Aerial yams are irregular and have a slightly flat (oblate) shape, sometimes they are rounded like Irish potatoes.

They come in varying sizes ranging from small to medium size

On the average it’s about 6 cm (2.4 in) to 8 cm  (3.1 in) in length.

Its made up of an outer skin and the flesh inside

The skin can be rough or smooth and the colour can be brown, tan or light grey depending on the variety.

The flesh is beige-orange in colour, it’s firm, starchy and slimy.

When cooked aerial yam has a mild earthy and slightly bitter flavour.

Nutritional Information

Carbohydrate 71.25%
Fat 0%
Protein 15.48%
Crude Fiber2.34%
Minerals (Mg/g)
Zinc 1.02
Iron 2.53
Copper 0.25
Calcium 65.52
Magnesium 2.53
Potassium 33.85
Sodium 7.25

Source: Research  Gate 

Brief History 

It has its origin from Africa from which it was introduced to other continents of the world.

Aerial yam has been used a long time ago as food and for medicinal purposes.

Aerial Yam in Nigeria

It called Adu in Igbo, Ewuraesi in Yoruba and Doyarbisa in Hausa 

It’s Referred to as up yam in Nigeria this is because on like the other yams and tuber like sweet potatoes, cassava and coco yam that grow under the ground, 

Aerial yam or up yam produces the yam above the ground.

Although in our country this is not as popular as white and yellow yam and may not be seen easily in the market especially in the urban regions.

But aerial yam is grown and used in Nigeria and is common in the sub-urban and rural regions.

It is grown in most parts of Nigeria.


For food

It is used as food, the crop can be boiled, roasted, dried and grinded into flour.

The food is served as a stand alone meal or alongside with sauce or soup.

For medicine

Because of its nutritional composition the crop is found very useful for medicinal purposes and is used in the pharmaceutical industry and in traditional medicine.

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