Hawaiian Name(s): pi‘a, pi‘ia

Scientific Name: Dioscorea pentaphylla

Vernacular Name: pi‘a Hawai‘i, wild yam

Family: Discoreaceae

Status: Polynesian introduction

Authority: L.

Description: Herbs with palmate leaves (five lobes); tubers of various shapes:bulbous, turnip-shaped & elongated.

Habitat Most common in windward mesic valleys 155–325 m on most main islands (Wagner et al. 1990:1439).


Non Medicinal Uses: Tubers eaten in times of famine (Krauss 1993:11,12).

Specific gravity of wood: n/a

Famous Locations:


`Ōlelo Noeau:

Dye Color and Parts:

Kino lau:

Location on Bishop Museum Kalihi Campus:

Propagation Information:

Seed: Seed length approximately 7.5 mm. Photograph: B.Kennedy.
Click for image