June Blooms: Wild Yam

Wild Yam (photo by Dianne Machesney)Though the subject says “June Blooms” I’m starting this month’s flower series with a plant whose flowers are far less noticable that its leaves.

Wild Yam used to be my mystery plant.  In May I would see a single whorl of pleated, heart-shaped leaves floating above a stem.  (Imagine this plant with only the bottom whorl visible.)

What could it be?  My Newcomb’s wildflower guide requires a flower to key out the identity of a plant so I was stumped.

Eventually I noticed it had matured into a vine with insignificant flowers sprouting from the second whorl.  Newcomb’s said:  Wild Yam, Dioscorea villosa.

The root of this plant was used by early Americans to treat colic and it has other medicinal uses as well.

I like Wild Yam because it’s pretty.  I remember it because it was a mystery.

(photo by Dianne Machesney)

2 thoughts on “June Blooms: Wild Yam

  1. Dear Kate ~

    Thank you so much for the information you provide – about the falcon chicks, and also about the plants and things of nature.
    Is there any chance you could do a blog post about poison ivy? They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but both would do a world of good in preventing an itchy period for many of us this year.
    Thanks again,

  2. I grew up in a woods, lived next door to one for 30 yrs. saw this plant all the time. Interesting to learn what it is. Alot of plants are probably like that tho and we call it greenery or “weeds”. Faith.

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