wild yam

(Dioscorea villosa)

Conservation Status
wild yam
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N4N5 - Apparently Secure to Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative

     
  Midwest

FAC - Facultative

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Wild yam 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.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

Climbs up to 18

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

White to cream

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

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

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

May to August

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
  5/30/2020      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  
 

Order

Dioscoreales (yams, colicroots, and allies)  
 

Family

Dioscoreaceae (yam)  
 

Genus

Dioscorea (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.

       
Visitor Photos
   

Share your photo of this plant.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.

       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   

Vine

  wild yam    
       

Leaves

  wild yam    
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Yam
DianesDigitals
 
  Yam  
 
About

Copyright DianesDigitals

 
     
  Plant portrait - Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa)
Identify that Plant
 
   
 
About

Published on May 1, 2013

A detailed look at the life cycle of Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa). These images can help to accurately identify the plant during different seasons of the year.

 
     

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
       

Share your video of this plant.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more videos or YouTube links and, if you like, a caption.

       
       
Other Videos
 
  Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa)
wvoutdoorman
 
   
 
About

Published on Apr 26, 2012

Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa) video

   
       
  wildcrafting video: Wild Yam digging (Dioscorea villosa)
wvoutdoorman
 
   
 
About

Published on Oct 1, 2012

wildcrafting video: Wild Yam digging. (Dioscorea villosa). Recent prices are a couple bucks a pound. It would take around 100 to 300 hundred to make a dried pound depending on the size dug.

   
       
  Wild Yam
Darryl Patton
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 2, 2009

More than just a "women's" herb, Wild Yam is becoming more and more popular as a treatment for the pains of IBS or irritable bowel complaints. Wild Yam is a good herb to use as an anti-inflammatory as well as to treat liver and gallbladder issues.

   
       

 

Camcorder


Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2021 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.