Dioscorea discolor

Dioscorea dodecaneura Vell.  (synonym: Dioscorea discolor Kunth) is a perennial climbing plant producing annual stems from a perennial rootstock. These stems scramble over the ground, or twine into the surrounding vegetation. Leaf blades are brilliantly coloured and very variable. The large deep green heart shaped leaves are veined with silver and randomly mottled with maroon and black with the undersides a rich pinkish purple. As the season progresses the leaves increase in size. This vigorous but manageable vine grows in a counterclockwise direction to a height of 2 to 4 meters from underground tubers (same genus as edible yams) and has small drooping clusters of tiny white, aromatic flowers. Goes dormant around 5 °C where the tubers may be left in the ground, but they need to be kept dry to prevent rotting. In colder climates lift tubers in the fall to overwinter in a cool frost-free location.


The genus name Dioscorea is named after a Greek naturalist (botanist, pharmacologist, and briefly, Emperor Nero’s personal physician) of the first century,  Πεδάνιος Διοσκουρίδης (Pedánios Dioskourídēs, “Dioscorides”)

Dioscorea discolor

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  • Name: Dioscorea dodecaneura Vell. (synonym: Dioscorea discolor Kunth)
    Type: herbaceous perennial
    Form:  Climbing tuber geophyte
    Family: Dioscoreaceae
    Native Range: S. Trop. America
    Zone: 12-13
    Habitat: lowland rainforest, shade
    Height: up to 4m
    Spread: 30cm
    Sun: Full sun or semi- shade
    Water: Medium
    Maintenance: Low
    Leaf: Evergreen
    Tolerate: Semi Shade

    Taxon identifiers: PlantList-ID : kew-240084; Tropicos ID : 11000329; IPNI plant ID : 323912-2; Global Biodiversity Information Facility ID : 2754923; Encyclopedia of Life ID : 1121057; TAXREF ID : 731865; WCSPF ID : 240084; NCBI taxonomy ID : 1933792; Plants of the World online ID : urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:323912-2; iNaturalist taxon ID : 700618; World Flora Online ID : wfo-0000390511

    Synonyms: = Dioscorea bangii R.Knuth = Dioscorea discolor Kunth = Dioscorea dodecandra Steud. = Dioscorea dodecaneura var. maronensis Uline ex R.Knuth = Dioscorea dodecaneura var. villosa R.Knuth ≡ Dioscorea hebantha Mart. = Dioscorea hebantha Mart. ex Griseb. = Dioscorea huallagensis R.Knuth = Dioscorea illustrata W.Bull = Dioscorea kita Queva = Dioscorea racemosa Rusby = Dioscorea speciosa Van Geert ≡ Dioscorea vittata W.Bull = Dioscorea vittata W.Bull ex Baker