Native to Appalachia and hardy to 0 degrees F. Vining herbaceous perennial with thick stems and heavy, knuckled roots. In many cases this plant can be found in the deep forest, where it can make a sturdy, upright and self-supporting plant showing only a single whorl of four leaves. One can also find Dioscorea quaternata living at the edge of the forest, where the increased availability of light encourages it to vine up into the overstory. The vine is thicker and less vigorous of a climber than Dioscorea villosa. The plant is also more root productve than Dioscorea villosa, so is often preferred by both diggers and cultivators. The roots of both species are used interchangeably in herbal medicine, used as an antispasmodic for smooth tissues, being especially helpful for alleviating stomach or bowl cramps and also menstrual cramps. This plant is highly adaptable to most herb gardens in the temperate US. Potted Plant, Certified Organically Grown
This plant may be grown outdoors in the forest or shade garden, but it it is also recommended for indoor growing as a houseplant. Following, find some recommendations for growing American Wild Yam in indoor culture (an indoor windowsill, under a skylight, in a sunroom, but without auxiliary growlights):
Pot size: Half Gallon to Gallon.
Soil: A deep, loamy and humus-rich soil is especially appreciated by this forest dweller. Organic compost, composted manure and coconut coir or peat moss are all well tolerated and appreciated.
Light requirement: Low to Medium
Watering requirement: Medium.
Fertilization: Not really needed, but if you wish, give a monthly foliar/root feeding of kelp tea, mycoblast, or compost tea.
Potential toxicity to pests or young children: negligible. The plant is not particularly attractive to browsers of any type. Wild yam does contain unique bioactive compounds but it is not overtly toxic. Discourage cats and children from eating it.
Setting outdoors: OK, but keep moist and shaded.
Vacations: Probably OK to leave unattended for a week without water. It will want a drink when you get home.
Other recommendations for growing this plant indoors: Remember that this is an herbaceous perennial. It will climb (and need support, such as curtains or an ornate rail) during the growing season (April to October, more or less) and senesce (get yellow and begin to die back down to root) during dormancy. Even when well-loved, the vines will tire in the autumn, and should be cut back. Placing the pot with dormant root intact in a cool or cold, moist and shaded position (such as cellar or outdoors next to the foundation under a pile of leaves) will give it the needed dormancy period and recharge its batteries for the growing season to come. Bring back to the windowsill or coffee table in the early spring, mulch the top of the pot with leaf mulch, and get ready for the show!
Feel free to order this plant at any time, but please be aware that we SHIP PLANTS APRIL 1 to AUGUST 1 AND SEPTEMBER1 to DEC 1 only. Orders received outside these months will be automatically backordered. If you are ordering plants out of season, you may wish to order them separately from your seeds, in order to streamline the process.
If you have chosen a PLANT* (marked with a *), shipping costs are as follows:
1 to 6 PLANTS* will ship for $14.90
7 to 8 PLANTS* will ship for $19.90 (The shipping may be more if you buy other things in addition to plants.)
For 9 or more PLANTS* or if ordering plants NOT marked with a *, we will contact you with a UPS shipping estimate.