wild yam

wild yam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dioscorea villosa


Nativity

Native

Status

 

Habitat

Moderate moisture. Open woods, thickets, roadsides, river-bottom forests. Full or partial sun.

Flowering

May to August

Flower Color

White to cream

Height

Climbs up to 18


Identification

This is a perennial, herbaceous vine that rises from slender, pale brown, knotty, woody cylindrical rhizomes. It is usually found trailing over adjacent shrubs and bushes.

The stems are slender, rarely branched, usually hairless and climb up to 18, twining counterclockwise.

The leaves are alternate, though the lowest leaves may appear whorled. They are untoothed, 2 to 4 long, 1 to 4 wide, heart-shaped, with convex sides. They gradually taper to a sharp point with concave sides along the tip. They are deeply cleft at the base where they attach to a long, slender leaf stalk. They have 9 to 11 (rarely 7) prominent veins and netted lateral veins. The upper surface is smooth and shiny. The underside is downy.

Male and female flowers are not borne on the same plant. The female inflorescence is a solitary, 2 to 4 long, drooping spike-like head borne in a leaf axil. The male inflorescence is a solitary, widely branched, 3 to 6 long, drooping cluster of 1 to 4 male flowers per node. The flowers are 3 to 6 parted and wide.

The fruit is a greenish-gold, 3-winged capsule with wide, winged seeds.

 
Similar
Species

 


Range Range Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.
 
Sightings

Banning State Park

Falls Creek SNA

Great River Bluffs State Park

King's and Queen's Bluff SNA

Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Prairie Creek Woods SNA

Wild River State Park

William O’Brien State Park


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Plant wild yam            
               
Leaves wild yam            

Taxonomy

Family:

Dioscoreaceae (yam)

 
Synonyms

Dioscorea glauca

Dioscorea hirticaulis

Dioscorea paniculata

Dioscorea paniculata var. glabrifolia

Dioscorea quaternata

Dioscorea quaternata var. glauca

Dioscorea villosa var. glabrifolia

Dioscorea villosa var. hirticaulis

 
Common
Names

Chinaroot

colic root

colic-root

wild yam

yam root


 

Glossary

 

axil

The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.

 

rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

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