Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa)

Wild yamThe Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) vine can grow to be 15 feet long during a single season.  This plant can be found throughout the middle and eastern portions of North America.  The leaves are ovate or cordate in shape, with clear veins and entire margins.

Wild yam

The lower sets of leaves grow in whorls from the stem.

Wild yamAs the vine lengthens, the whorled leaves become fewer in number (per whorl) and eventually they are single leaves arranged alternately along the stem.

Wild yam

Wild yam plants can have either male or female flowers.  The flowers are quite tiny as you can see in the following image of the vine with its developing flower buds (the little light green dots hanging below the leaves).

Wild yam

Here’s a close view of some staminate (male) Wild yam flowers.

Wild yam

In the fall, the leaves turn bright yellow.

Wild yam

This is when the rhizomes are harvested for medicinal purposes.

Wild yam

Watch this video for more photos of Wild yam.  You can see how it grows, look at more photos of the staminate flowers as well as the seed capsules, and observe how it dies during the fall months. The images can help you accurately identify this plant whenever you have an opportunity to see it.

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3 Responses to Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa)

  1. Deej says:

    I love the videos. What great information. Can you create an app that allows one to view the video while in the woods without internet access, for the iPod touch 5G?

  2. Pingback: Mystery plant 082 | Identify that Plant

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