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.
You might see it for sale at a nursery, but don’t buy it! At least six states have banned this invasive exotic, and the difficult-to-control plant is causing problems here in Missouri, too. Learn how to identify it—and avoid it!
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.