#CreatureFeature – Dioscorea hastifolia (Spear leaved Dioscorea, Native Yam)

Dioscorea hastifolia is a diecious (separate male and female plants) climber with slender twining stems reaching up to 3 metres!

The lower leaves are described as spear shaped whereas the upper leaves are linear. Between April and July each year, this plant produces sprays of small, yellow flowers. The fruits are green with three angled wings which mature form September to October. During summer, the above ground section of the plant dies off completely leaving just the underground tuber.

This vine produces edible cylindrical tubers which can grow up to 10-25 cm long and it is for this reason it is on occasion known as a native yam.

There are over 600 species known worldwide and only a handful of them occur outside of tropical climates. Dioscorea hastifolia is native to the southwest of WA and occurs from the south coast all the way to Shark Bay in the north and unusually for this genus occurs across a semi-arid to Mediterranean climate. This particular dioscorea thrives in mineral-dense soils with high clay content in woodland and shrub communities.



Jarna Kendle – Senior Biodiversity Officer

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