Dioscorea alata – Winged Yam

This species is a common food plant throughout the world, grows in northern Australia, and is now extending it’s range into northern NSW.  It makes an ornamental plant as well as being a good edible, with lush foliage. It grows as a perennial vine, and can grow to the top of trees if allowed, but can be trained onto a frame.  It can be used to also provide dappled shade for other plants. A great alternative to potatoes for the vegetable garden in northern areas, they need warmth and a rainy summer and dry winter to do best. Can be grown as far south as Sydney, as long as it is in a frost-free area. Normally deciduous in winter, depending on temperature, and this is a good signal to harvest the tuber, which can grow quite large.
Culinarily, they can be used for all the same purposes as potatoes, and more, including desserts. It grows from bulbils that grow on the stems, from cuttings or from pieces of the tuber. Be aware that it can be a weedy plant in certain areas, so dispose of unwanted plant material with care.

Family : Dioscoreaceae
Cultivar Name:
Plant Type : Climber, Bulb or bulb-like
Width : 3
Flowering Time : Spring, Summer
Soil Type : Sandy, Loamy, Sandy loam, Clay loam, Potting mix
Climate Zone : Tropical, Sub-tropical, Warm temperate
Growth Habit : Deciduous, Spreading
Soil Moisture : Well-drained
Special Uses : Edible, Fast growing
Scientific Name: Dioscorea alata
Common Name : Winged Yam
Height : 5
Flower Color : White, Yellow
pH Level : Acid, Neutral
Plant Environment : Low maintenance garden, Coastal garden, Drought resistant
Light : Sunny
Lifespan : Perennial
Frost Tolerance : Not frost tolerant
Attracts Wildlife : Mammals