Dioscorea mexicana, Mexican yam or cabeza de negro is a species of yam in the genus Dioscorea
Dioscorea mexicana is a caudiciform dioscorea having either a partly to completely above-ground dome-shaped caudex with a thick, woody outer layer up to 3 feet90 cm in diameter and 8-10 inches20 to 25 cm in height The caudex of D mexicana is divided into regular polygonal plates that become protuberant with age, and separated by deep fissures The vigorous annual vines which may reach 30 feet 9 m long before dying back in winter, that grow up from the caudex, bear heart-shaped leaves
Dioscorea mexicana ranges from the state of San Luis Potosí in northeastern Mexico south to Panama It is notable for its production of diosgenin, which is a precursor for the synthesis of hormones such as progesterone Russell Marker developed the extraction and manufacture of hormones from D mexicana at Syntex Later the Mexican barbasco trade focused instead on Dioscorea composita instead, as this variety has a higher diosgenin content
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- ^ "Dioscorea mexicana" Germplasm Resources Information Network GRIN Agricultural Research Service ARS, United States Department of Agriculture USDA Retrieved 10 January 2018
- ^ americanheritagecom
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