Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wild Yam

Wild Yam
Dioscorea villosa
This was a surprise to me. I could not figure it out, but the folks at IN-Plants knew right away that this was Wild Yam. This is in the same genus as the yams that people eat in Africa and other countries throughout the world. It is not the same genus, or even the same family, as the sweet potato which is sometimes called yam.

I never knew that yams grew natively in Indiana. I guess I never thought about it. This particular species is not eaten, its root is bitter and somewhat poisonous if not prepared correctly.

The angular fruits are distinctive looking
Leaves are heart-shaped at the base and long-pointed at the tip

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