Family: Dioscoreaceae

Synonyms: Botryosicyos pentaphyllus, Dioscorea changjiangensis, Dioscorea codonopsidifolia, Dioscorea digitate, Dioscorea globifera, Dioscorea jacquemontii, Dioscorea kleiniana, Dioscorea spinosa, Dioscorea triphylla, Hamatris triphylla, Ubium quadrifarium, Ubium scandens.

Common Name: Buck Yam, Five Leaf Yam, Mountain yam, Wild yam, Prickly yam

Local Name: Dareghal (दरेघल)

In Western Himalaya two plant are identified with the same name dareghal  one is  a  plant of low altitude very  commonly found in jungles upto 1500 m altitudinal zone, while other is seen growing at comparatively high altitude between 900  3000 m altitudinal zone.

Dareghal  vine growing wild

A great morphological variation has also been noticed in these plants. Tubers of dareghal growing at higher altitude are large, rounded to oval and with numerous feeding roots on its surface.Leaves are alternate, simple broadly ovate cordate and vine without prickers while dareghal growing in lower altitude are with small, spindle or conical shaped tubers having less feeding roots. Its leaves are compound having 3-5 leaflets and vine is with prickers.

Plant we are discussing here is Dioscorea pentaphylla. It is easily identified by its digitately 3 to 5 leaflets and presence of prickles on vine. This dareghal is seen growing in miscellaneous forests and shrub jungles, up to 1500 m. Plant grows best in well drained sunny and sandy habitat.

Dareghal  of high altitude
Dareghal  of low altitude.

Tubers, bulbils, inflorescence and young leaves of dareghal, all are edible and eaten cooked. Dareghal is considered as a seasonal delicacy and tubers are harvested from winter to spring season of the year. Young leaves and inflorescence are used as green in various food preparations. Bulbils are called as asmaani aalu and cooked as substitute of potato.

A young plant of dareghal

Dareghal tubers are good source of earning for local people and they can easily earn Rs 250 to 500 /kg by selling tuber in local market. Dareghal is usually harvested from wild for local use of food & medicine by inhabitants of Western Himalaya. Sometime it is also cultivated in clay, plastic or any waste container for easy access and harvesting.


Dareghal is grown by ariel bulbils (asmaani aalu) and cut section of tubers having dormant buds. Cut section are kept in full sunlight for 1 to 2 days to promote wound healing and reduce the risk of fungal infection.

Dareghal Plant:

Plant is a perennial twiner or vine, producing annual foliage from globose or pyriform tubers rootstock; bulbils corky & lobed grow in the axils of leave.

A small plant-let of dareghal with three leaflet.

Branchlets are glabrescent, prickly or smooth.

Leaves are digitately 3- 5 foliolate; leaflets ovate or elliptic to oblong, 5- 15 to 2-6 cm, lateral ones slightly oblique, tip acute; petioles 3- 10 cm long.

Ddareghal  vine showing prickers.

Male flowers in axillary or terminal, 5- 10 cm long, paniculate racemes; perianth – lobes 6; stamens 3; staminodes 3. Female flowers in solitary or 2-3 nate, 5-7 cm long racemes; perianth lobes 6; ovary tomentose, 3- locular.

A dareghal vine

Capsules oblong with rounded base, retuse at apex, angled.

Dareghal edible tuber can be harvested from pre-winter to spring season of the year, while bulbils can be harvested from autumn to pre-winter. Edible young leaves from summer to rainy season while inflorescence from rainy to autumn season of the year. As roots and reproductive parts are harvested for food, so dareghal is extremely need to be sustainably harvested (by habitat rotation) and domesticated for ensuring sustainable development.

Edible Uses:

A variety of traditional dishes can be prepared from dareghal tubers & bulbils like ‘bhale‘, ‘dahin bhale’ and ‘kachouri’ etc Tubers are also pickled to preserve for off season. Vegetable or vegetable curry is also prepared like a potato vegetable. Tender leaves are occasionally boiled and cooked as a leafy vegetable exclusively or in combination with other green or potato. Tender leaves and inflorescence are cooked with spices and basen into a traditional dish Kachru like a chilla.

Close of Dareghal collected for cooking.



Tubers, 1 kg; mustard oil, 3-4 table spoons; coriander powder 1 table spoon; fenugreek powder, ½ table spoon; cumin seed, 1 tea spoon;  turmeric powder, 1/2 table spoon; red chillies; 2-3 medium sized chopped onions, 2-4; garlic, 4-5 cloves; ginger paste, ½ table spoon; 1 cup amount chopped green coriander leaves and salt according to taste.

Chopped dareghal  tubers.


For preparing sabji, the tubers are first boiled and brown peel is taken off. Then these are cut into small pieces and fried in hot oil along with spice listed before in sequence, as is done with potatoes. Garnish the recipe with chopped coriander leaves and serve with chapatis.  The preparation tastes very good. If it is to be taken with rice, then add 4 cups of water or curd and cook for another 5 minutes to serve with rice.

Dareghal  vegetable ready to serve.

Chopped tubers can be cooked into vegetable without boiling.

Dareghal  vegetable curry ready to serve.



Tubers, 1 kg; mustard oil, 1/2 liter; fenugreek powder, 1/2 table spoon; cumin seed, 1 tea spoon;  turmeric powder, 1-3 table spoon; red chilies; 10-15; garlic, 250 g; grated ginger , 250 g; mustard seed powder, 3-4 table spoon, Chopped green coriander, tirmir (Zanthoxylum armatum), mint (Mentha piperita) and curry (Murraya koeingii) leaves, 2-3 cup amount and salt according to taste.


Boil tubers till they are soft. Mesh them manually and make paste of mashed tubers and spices listed above in same sequence Now make small round breadspread with a hole in center with this pastePut oil in a fry pan and deep fry these breadspread with hole called as bhalla traditionally. Repeat this process till whole paste is over. Bhalle are ready to serve as snack.

 Dahin Bhalle:


Bhalle, 7-10; curd, 1/2 kg, black pepper powder, 1/4 tea spoon; chopped green coriander leaves, 1 cup amount, salt according to taste.


Split bhalle into small pieces and dip into the curd. Add to it black pepper powder, chopped green coriander leaves and salt according to taste, Mix well and serve.



Tubers, 1 kg; wheat flour, 7-8 cup amount; yeast, 5-10 g; mustard oil, 1/2 liter; fenugreek powder, 1/2 table spoon; cumin seed, 1 tea spoon;  turmeric powder, 1-3 table spoon; red chilies; 10-15; grated ginger , 250 g; , Chopped green coriander, tirmir (Zanthoxylum armatum), mint (Mentha piperita) and curry (Murraya koeingii) leaves, 2-3 cup amount and salt according to taste.


For preparing kachuri prepare dough of wheat, flour along with yeast. Allow to rest dough for 3-4 hour. Boil tardi tuber till these are soft. Mesh boiled tubers manually and add spices listed above. Mix well into fine paste. Roll dough already made into small disc  or round breadspread and stuff it with paste . Give a deep fry to the stuffed disc in hot mustered oil and take them out. Repeat this for whole dough and paste, now kachuri is ready to serve.



Tubers, 1 kg; wheat flour, 7-8 cup amount ; mustard oil, 1/2 liter; fenugreek powder, 1/2 table spoon; cumin seed, 1 tea spoon;  turmeric powder, 1-3 table spoon; red chilies; 250 g; grated ginger , 250 g; ajwain (caraway seeds), 1 tea spoon; Chopped green coriander and curry (Murraya koeingii) leaves, 2-3 cup amount and salt according to taste.


Boiled tubers are meshed manually. Mix meshed tubers well with spices and make fine paste. This paste is now stuffed into the wheat flour dough and made into breadspread. Put oil on tawa (Flat fry pan) and cook both sides of stuffed breadspread by putting some oil. Repeat this process till whole paste and dough is over. Serve hot with pickle/butter/curd/chutney.

Leafy vegetable:


Tender leaves of dareghal, ½ kg; medium sized half boiled potato, 3-4; mustard oil, 2 table spoons; coriander powder 1 table spoon; fenugreek powder, ½ table spoon; cumin seed ¼ table spoon; turmeric powder, 1/4 table spoon; red chilies, 2-3; chopped onions 2-4; garlic, 4-5 cloves; ginger paste ½ table spoon and salt according to taste.


Boil chopped leaves they become soft. Then mesh manually or in a mixer. Sauté half boiled chopped potato with hot mustard oil and the spices listed before in sequence. Add meshed dareghal leaves to it and cook for 5-7 minutes. Garnish the recipe with garam masala and serve.

Kachru or sosaru:

Kachru is a traditional dish of Western Himalaya cooked as chilla with spices and basen or corn flour. It is served as a evening snack with tea/ chutney/tomato ketch-up.


For preparing a kachru, ingredients required are ½ kg dareghal young leaves & inflorescence, 1/2 kg; besan (black gram powder) or corn flour. 1 cup amount fresh coriander leaves,1/2 table spoon ajwain, 3-5 green chillies, ½ table spoon turmeric powder, 2-3 chopped onions and salt according to taste

Dareghal  leaves collected for kachru making.


Make a paste of leaves, besan or corn flour and spices. Heat some oil on a flat heating pan. Put this paste over a pan and cook for 15 to 20 minutes then kachru will be ready to serve.

Kachru of dareghal  & other green ready to serve.

Nutrient Value:

Serving Size: 1 Cup, 100 g

Water ,77.14 g; Energy, 82 Kcal; Protein, 1.73 g; Total Fat (lipid), 0.08 g; Ash 1.06 g, Carbohydrate, 20 g; Ca, 8 mg; Fe, 0.43 mg; Mg, 10 mg; P,  40 mg; K, 495 mg; Na, 12 mg; Z, 0.32 mg;  Cu, 0.129 mg; Mn,0.283 mg; Selenium, 0.9 µg, Vitamin B1, (Thiamin) 0.086 mg; Vitamin B2, (Riboflavin) 0.014 m;, Vitamin B3, (Niacin), 0.13 mg; Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), 0.48 mg; Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), 0.209 mg; Vitamin B9 (Folate), 12 µg. Moreover, many Amino acids like 0.014 g of Tryptophan 0.061 g of Threonine 0.059 g of Isoleucine 0.109 g of Leucine and 0.067 g of Lysine are also found in 100 gram of cooked tubers 1.

Seek professional advice before treating this plant medicinally.

Medicinal Uses:

Tubers are applied on swelling of joints and used as tonic to improve body immunity, stomach pain and rheumatic swellings 2, 3, 4. Inflorescence is used as vegetables for body weakness 5. Tubers are useful to allay pain and swelling 6. Dareghal is a good source of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are essential to live healthy life 1. It is extremely beneficial in treating high blood pressure, fights diabetes, lower the risk of heart problems, helps maintain dental health and hair and skin & treat anemia 1. Crushed mass of tuber is given to cattle when they become sick by eating green leaves of maize 7.  

Source of Income:

Dareghal tubers are good source of income for local people. These are considered as a seasonal delicacy and being organic are sold at high market price of Rs 250 to 500/kg. 

 Mass domestication of dareghal  should be encouraged for exploiting this plant as a means of socio-economic development for the inhabitants living in Western Himalayas.


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5. Kumar, S., Das, G., Shin, H. S., & Patra, J. K. (2017). Dioscorea spp.(a wild edible tuber): a study on its ethnopharmacological potential and traditional use by the local people of Similipal Biosphere Reserve, India. Frontiers in pharmacology, 8, 52.

6. Sharma, L. N., & Bastakoti, R. (2009). Ethnobotany of Dioscorea L. with emphasis on food value in Chepang communities in Dhading district, central Nepal. Botanica Orientalis: Journal of Plant Science, 6, 12-17.

7 thoughts on “Dioscorea pentaphylla L. -Dareghal (दरेघल)

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