Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Wild Yam, Colic Root

Wild Yam, Colic Root

Dioscorea villosa

Part to full shade; moderately wet to medium moisture level; prefers light rich soil but will also grow in sandy, rocky or clay soils; pH tolerant.

5-15 feet height, blooms spring into summer; greenish yellow flowers.

Growth Rate:  ?

Maintenance:  Easy to grow

Propagation:  Seed germination code  C(60)

Native Region:  Statewide

This tuberous vine is best known for its steroid-like saponins which can be chemically converted to progesterone contraceptives and cortisone.  The root is edible and considered a homeopathic remedy for a variety of symptoms.  Its most attractive feature is its delicate, heart-shaped, shiny leaves which are distinctively veined, giving the leaf a puckered look.  Climbs by twining and will grow up tree branches, tall herbaceous plants or whatever it can find.  Native to bogs, swamps, marshes, river and lake margins, woods and thickets.   Must have both male and female plants to get seed.

vine;sun/shade;wet;clay
vine;sun/shade;wet;loam
vine;sun/shade;wet;sand
vine;sun/shade;wet;rocky
vine;sun/shade;medium;clay
vine;sun/shade;medium;loam
vine;sun/shade;medium;sand
vine;sun/shade;medium;rocky
vine;shade;wet;clay
vine;shade;wet;loam
vine;shade;wet;sand
vine;shade;wet;rocky
vine;shade;medium;clay
vine;shade;medium;loam
vine;shade;medium;sand
vine;shade;medium;rocky

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