Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa)

Dioscorea villosa is known by the common name Wild Yam. Most Discorea sp. have male and female plants. I’ve seen it at Fort Yargo State Park where I saw only male plants (segment 12) and at home where it didn’t bloom. So, it’s going to be on my watchlist for next year.

The first leaves. It was the ‘group-of-five’ leaves with the radiating veins that attracted my attention. It was striking among other plants. Some plants developed several sets of five leaves and some produced sets of three before starting to ‘run’ across the ground. One plant had a set of seven leaves.

The vine, running across the ground.

The male flowers, at a distance.

A little closer.

Closer still.

Male flowers, close up. They were small; only about one-quarter inch across.

Dioscorea villosa
(Wild Yam) is native to the eastern United States. It grows in states including and east of Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas; it doesn’t grow in New Hampshire or Maine. In Canada, it grows only in Ontario.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Distribution Map:

- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam)

University of North Carolina Herbarium: Dioscorea villosa

Identification resources:
- Southeastern Flora: Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa)
- Natural and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Dioscorea villosa

Related posts:
- 2010: Year Of The Wildflower - Wildflower Index

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