Chinese yam

Dioscoreales > Dioscoreaceae > Dioscorea oppositifolia L.

Chinese yam is an herbaceous, twining vine that is often found climbing. It invades open to shady areas in the eastern United States. The leaves resemble greenbrier leaves. They are alternate or opposite, 8 in. (20.3 cm) long, wide, long petiolate, heart to fiddle-shaped with prominent, parallel veins. Leaves are usually more rounded when young or on young plants and fiddle-shaped farther along the stem and on older plants. The rounded stems are thin and wiry. The chief means of reproduction are by aerial potato-like tubers (bulbils) located at the leaf axils and by underground tubers. The vine rarely flowers. Chinese yam can form dense masses of vines that cover and kill native vegetation including trees within a variety of moist disturbed habitats. It was introduced from Asia for ornamental, food, and medicinal purposes and escaped cultivation in the mid 1990s.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

  • Weeds of the Week - USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection

Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Plant(s);
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Resource Management Archive, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Troy Evans, , Bugwood.org
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Foliage; July
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); Aerial tubers and foliage
Jack Ranney, University of Tennessee, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); aerial tubers
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s); aerial tubers
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Seed(s);
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Alabama - IPC List
  • Georgia - EPPC list
  • Kentucky - EPPC List
  • South Carolina - EPPC List
  • Tennessee - EPPC List
  • Texas - Invasive Plant List
  • Virginia - Invasive Alien Plant Species
  • Mid-Atlantic - EPPC List
  • Invasive Plants: Guide to Identification and the Impacts and Control of Common North American Species
  • Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest
  • Midwest Invasive Plant Network


External Links


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USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia