New vines quickly sprout from the bulbils of Chinese yam. These drop off the vine and are carried to new locations by water or rodents or in topsoil moved for construction purposes. Even a small piece of a bulbil will sprout into a new vine, the way a small piece of a potato can create a new plant. The bulbils can overwinter and form new vines in spring.
The leaves of Chinese yam are usually opposite (sometimes alternate toward branch tips), green, with 7-9 parallel veins, fiddle-shaped or heart-shaped, with pointed tip and two lobes near the base of the leaf.
Climbing false buckwheat is related to smartweeds, buckwheat, knotweeds, and rhubarb. A vigorous nonwoody vine, it is common in low, moist areas. This patch was photographed along the Katy Trail just north of Jefferson City.
The flower and fruit clusters of climbing false buckwheat are rather showy, considering it is a rampant vine. This native plant provides shelter and food for wildlife, and it contributes to stabilizing bottomland soils that are prone to flooding.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature.