Lesser yam is a tuberous vegetable widely grown in tropical region. Its botanical name is Dioscorea esculenta and it belongs to the family of Dioscoreaceae. It is a spiny climber growing up to 12 m high, with numerous shallow-rooted tubers. This is a 6–10 months crop with short dormancy period. The tubers are small and are found in clusters of some 5 to 20 slightly below the soil surface.
Generally the Lesser yam is a rainfed crop. Its planting season is later part of dry season i.e., March-April. If the planting is delayed seed tubers start germination. This should be avoided.
Seed tubers are used for propagation of Lesser yam. The improved varieties of Lesser yam are Sreelatha, Sreekala etc. Select medium size tubers weighing about 100-150 gm. Plant the whole tuber on ridges or mounds. Cattle manure up to 1kg may be applied for each tuber. Mulching should be done for maintaining moisture and optimum temperature.
Weeding and earthing up may be done one month after planting.
When the plants start vining, trail the same by fixing small poles or providing other materials.