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Dioscorea villosa is often confused with:
Dioscorea polystachya Dioscorea batates
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Vitis vulpina Vitis vulpina
Smilax herbacea Flowers
Smilax walteri

Dioscorea villosa

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
dy-oh-SKOR-ee-uh vil-OH-suh
Description

Wild Yam is a perennial vine found in moist forests and woodlands in eastern Canada and the U.S.A.  Individual plants are either male or female.  The flowers on a male are panicles and appear in clusters of 1 to 3 along the branches.  The tiny flowers are 1/8" across, each having 6 white-green or yellow-green tepals and 6 fertile stamens.  Female flowers appear on 3-9" racemes of 5-15 flowers that develop from the leaf axils.  They too are tiny flowers, 1/8" in size.  The female flowers are replaced by 1" capsules that contain 1-2 seeds.  

This plant is at its best when grown in full sun.  It will take some shade, but will not produce flowers or seeds.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:  No notable problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#perennial#herbaceous#NC native#herbaceous vine#native vine#food source fall#food source herbage#Piedmont Mountains FAC#Coastal FACW#vine#perennial vine#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#perennial#herbaceous#NC native#herbaceous vine#native vine#food source fall#food source herbage#Piedmont Mountains FAC#Coastal FACW#vine#perennial vine#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Dioscorea
    Species:
    villosa
    Family:
    Dioscoreaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Canada, U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO MS, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV
    Wildlife Value:
    It provides nesting and cover for birds and some small animals.
    Play Value:
    Textural
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Vine
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Brown fruit displays from September to November. Capsules are 3-sectioned, each containing 2 seeds, occasionally 1 seed. These green capsules ripen to brown.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    Greenish-yellow flowers bloom from April to June. Flower inflorescence differs between male and female plants.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are arranged in an alternate pattern with the exception of near the base of the vine, where they can be opposite or whorled. With smooth margins, the 2-4" x 1 1/2-3" leaves are veined with 7 to 11 veins per leaf. The upper surface is smooth, while the lower is sparsely short-pubescent.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    The stems vary in color from light green to pale yellow to reddish-green or dark red.
  • Landscape:
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals