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Yam vs. Cassava: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 29, 2023
Yam is a tuber from the Dioscoreaceae family, typically with a rough skin and starchy flesh, whereas cassava, also a tuber, from the Euphorbiaceae family, is rich in carbohydrates and a staple in tropical diets.
Yam vs. Cassava

Key Differences

Yam, a tuber from the Dioscoreaceae family, is known for its rough skin and starchy interior. Cassava, on the other hand, comes from the Euphorbiaceae family and is recognized for its high carbohydrate content and significance in tropical diets.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 29, 2023
Cultivation of yams is widespread in Africa, Asia, and Oceania, reflecting its historical and cultural importance. In contrast, cassava, originating from South America, is now a staple in many tropical countries due to its resilience in various climates.
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Yams are diverse in species, with over 600 varieties, each with unique tastes and textures. Cassava has two main types: sweet and bitter, the latter requiring careful processing to remove toxins.
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In culinary uses, yams are often boiled, roasted, or fried, featuring in traditional dishes across different cultures. Cassava is versatile too, used to make tapioca, flour, and as a potato substitute in various recipes.
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Nutritionally, yams provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them a healthful choice. Cassava, while energy-rich, contains less protein and nutrient diversity, requiring supplementation from other food sources.
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Comparison Chart

Etymology

Derived from African terms, e.g., “nyami.”
From Taino, a Native American language, “kasabi.”
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Plural Form

Yams
Cassavas
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Adjective Form

Yam-like
Cassava-like
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Usage in Literature

Often symbolizes fertility and abundance.
Frequently represents sustenance and survival.
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Cultural References

Integral to folklore and rituals in Africa and Asia.
Central to South American and Caribbean cultural narratives.
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Yam and Cassava Definitions

Yam

Used metaphorically to denote prosperity and abundance.
In literature, a bountiful yam harvest often symbolizes wealth.
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Cassava

Known for its high carbohydrate content and low protein.
Cassava is an essential energy source in many developing countries.
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Yam

A food staple in many tropical and subtropical regions.
For many cultures, yam is more than just food; it's part of their heritage.
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Cassava

Often used to make tapioca, a gluten-free starch product.
Tapioca pearls in bubble tea are made from cassava.
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Yam

A term used to refer to various species in the genus Dioscorea.
Yams vary greatly in size and color, depending on the species.
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Cassava

A plant from the Euphorbiaceae family, used as a food staple in many countries.
Cassava is a versatile ingredient in many tropical cuisines.
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Yam

A symbol of cultural significance in various African and Asian societies.
The yam festival is a major event in some African communities.
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Cassava

Contains two types, sweet and bitter, both requiring cooking.
Bitter cassava must be processed to remove toxins before eating.
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Yam

Any of numerous chiefly tropical vines of the genus Dioscorea, many of which have edible tuberous roots.
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Oct 19, 2023

Cassava

A tropical root vegetable, known for its starchy tuber.
Cassava can be made into flour for baking.
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Yam

The starchy root of any of these plants, used in the tropics as food.
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Cassava

A shrubby tropical American plant (Manihot esculenta) widely grown for its large, tuberous, starchy roots.
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Yam

See sweet potato.
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Cassava

The root of this plant, eaten as a staple food in the tropics only after leaching and drying to remove cyanide. Cassava starch is also the source of tapioca. In both senses also called manioc, yuca.
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Yam

Any climbing vine of the genus Dioscorea in the Eastern and Western hemispheres, usually cultivated.
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Cassava

Manioc (Manihot esculenta), a tropical plant which is the source of tapioca.
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Yam

The edible, starchy, tuberous root of that plant, a tropical staple food.
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Cassava

Tapioca, a starchy pulp made with manioc roots.
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Yam

(US) A sweet potato; a tuber from the species Ipomoea batatas.
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Cassava

A shrubby euphorbiaceous plant of the genus Manihot, with fleshy rootstocks yielding an edible starch; - called also manioc.
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Yam

(Scotland) Potato.
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Cassava

A nutritious starch obtained from the rootstocks of the cassava plant, used as food and in making tapioca.
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Yam

(NZ) A oca; a tuber from the species Oxalis tuberosa.
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Cassava

A starch made by leaching and drying the root of the cassava plant; the source of tapioca; a staple food in the tropics
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Yam

Taro.
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Cassava

Cassava root eaten as a staple food after drying and leaching; source of tapioca
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Yam

An orange-brown colour, like the flesh of the yam. en
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Cassava

Any of several plants of the genus Manihot having fleshy roots yielding a nutritious starch
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Yam

A large, esculent, farinaceous tuber of various climbing plants of the genus Dioscorea; also, the plants themselves. Mostly natives of warm climates. The plants have netted-veined, petioled leaves, and pods with three broad wings. The commonest species is Dioscorea sativa, but several others are cultivated.
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Yam

Any one of several cultural varieties of the sweet potato.
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Yam

Edible tuber of any of several yams
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Yam

Any of a number of tropical vines of the genus Dioscorea many having edible tuberous roots
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Yam

Sweet potato with deep orange flesh that remains moist when baked
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Yam

Edible tuberous root of various yam plants of the genus Dioscorea grown in the tropics world-wide for food
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Yam

A starchy tuberous root, primarily consumed in Africa and Asia.
We had boiled yam for dinner last night.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What's the nutritional value of yams?

They are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
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Where is cassava originally from?

South America.
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What is yam?

A tuberous root, commonly consumed in tropical regions.
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Are yams high in calories?

They are moderately high in calories, mostly from carbohydrates.
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Can cassava be used for animal feed?

Yes, especially its leaves and stems.
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Can yam be eaten raw?

No, it’s usually cooked due to its tough texture.
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Is cassava root toxic?

Bitter cassava contains cyanide and must be processed before eating.
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What's the shelf life of cassava?

Fresh cassava can last a few days to weeks if stored properly.
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How do you store yams?

In a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
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Is yam good for weight loss?

Its high fiber content can aid in weight management.
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What's the difference between African and Asian yams?

They differ in size, taste, and texture.
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How is cassava used in cooking?

It's boiled, fried, or turned into flour or tapioca.
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Is cassava gluten-free?

Yes, making it a popular wheat alternative.
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Are yams and sweet potatoes the same?

No, they are different species.
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Can cassava cause allergies?

It's rare but possible, especially for those with latex allergies.
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How is cassava harvested?

It's harvested by digging out the tuberous roots.
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What dishes are made from yams?

Yam porridge, fufu, and pounded yam are popular dishes.
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What's the environmental impact of growing cassava?

It's relatively low-impact, suitable for marginal soils.
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What are the health benefits of cassava?

It provides energy and essential nutrients.
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Is yam suitable for diabetics?

It should be consumed in moderation due to its carbohydrate content.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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