A small plant, photo by
Dormant. Photo by
This member of the Dioscoreaceae
family was described by Carlos Toledo Rizzini & Armando de Mattos-Filho in 1986.
It id found in the drier, seasonally deciduous forests found
inland in the state of Bahia, Brazil.
Marlon Machado from
University of Zurich have been kind enough to share his observations
and knowledge: "I have seen this species in the field in a number of
places in the state of Bahia, Brazil. I often found it growing in
forests, not evergreen rainforest of the coast but the drier,
seasonally deciduous forests found further inland. The plants
develop very long vines, that climb up the trees until the canopy of
the forest. The plants develops many stems that are thick and spiny
at the base, the shape varying from fusiform (spindle-shaped,
broadest at the middle and tapering at both ends) to more often
obclavate (club-shaped with the broad end at the base), up to 15cm
The specific name
basiclavicaulis is a reference to this shape: stem (caulis) with
base (basi) like a club (clavi) The thick portion of the stems can
be up to one meter long, then it tapers to a vine. I also have found
this species growing in more exposed places. Then it gets more
compact, with shorter thickened bases of the stems.
Below ground the plants develops several tuberous roots, like
potatoes. There is not a single large caudex like some other Dioscorea
species, and these tuberous roots are best left in the soil.