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Ulshi / Chai Vel / उळशी / Five Leaf Yam / Dioscorea pentaphylla Var. Pentaphylla

Local Name: Ulshi / Chai Vel / उळशी

Common Name: Five Leaf Yam

Botanical Name: Dioscorea pentaphylla Var. Pentaphylla

Ulshi / Chai Vel / उळशी / Five Leaf Yam / Dioscorea pentaphylla Var. Pentaphylla

Status & Habitat

  • Habitat: Climber

  • Occurrence: Forests, Farm bunds, Hilly areas

  • Season of Availability: Spring and summer

  • Geography: Southern and Eastern Asia

  • Method of Propagation: Vegetative propagation

  • Part used for Propagation: Underground corms

Edible Parts

  • Edible Parts: Tender Shoots, Leaves & Tuber

  • Can be Eaten Raw: No

Method of Consumption

  • Raw: No

  • Ripe: N/A

  • Both Raw & Ripe: N/A

  • Dangerous Form to Consume: Raw tuber

  • As Food: Ulshi Mohar is cooked as a vegetable. Tubers are also used as vegetables

  • As Medicine: N/A

  • Cooking Without Prior Boiling: No

  • Boiling Before Cooking: Yes

  • Pickling: N/A

  • Brining: N/A

  • Fermenting: N/A

  • Drying for later Consumption: N/A

  • Overall Method: Tubers can be eaten when boiled. Typically eaten with salt, pepper and other spices.

Nutritional & Medicinal Benefits

  • Nutritional Benefit: Rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

  • Medicinal Benefit: Used to treat swelling, is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal

Tribal Wisdom

  • Tribal Wisdom: Whole plant juice is used to treat boils and colds; tuber and leaves can be used to treat disorders; apply tuber paste onto cuts, wounds, and legions to heal them


  • Tribal Recipe: In Odisha, communities typically leave tubers in running water overnight then boil them. They then eat them as-is or use them as a vegetable for curries.