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plant that grows from a relative of the Yam family?

I Don't Like Spam nobody at ibm.com
Mon Feb 3 15:19:30 EST 2003

In article <v3rh869esm5ha5 at corp.supernews.com>,
blair <blair863 at hotmail.com> wrote:
>I was at somebody's house once and they had a big sprawling plant with heart
>shaped leaves. They said that they grew it by putting a relative of the yam
>family into the ground and planting it. Apparently you could also plant a
>yam and grow a different plant as well.
>Does anyone know what this plant is?
When I was in college, a friend planted a sweet potato in a pot and
let it grow. Later she told her room-mate that it was a "heart-shaped
wandering jew". This was believed until an energetic pet knocked the
pot over, breaking it, revealing the true nature of the plant. As
mentioned earlier, sweet potato is in Convolvulaceae, with morning

I wouldn't have brought this up, except sitting on my window sill here
at work is a member of the yam family Dioscoreaceae, _Dioscorea
macrostachya_, (dormant right now) the leaves of which are very
similar to the heart shaped leaves of sweet potato. This grows from a
large corm that is quite interesting in appearance. In nature this
corm is hidden underground, but when sold as a houseplant, the organ
is kept above ground for show (some of the larger, older ones resemble
a tortoise shell, at least if you have an active imagination).

So, before we jump to conclusions about exactly what the plant is,
there ARE some members of the yam family kept as houseplants that fit
your description (although, in general, they are a bit pricey, and not
very common except perhaps through specialty succulent dealers).

Sweet potatoes as sold in the US, often called yams (oh the wonders of
misleading common names). Ask your friend if they could allow you to
take a look at the underground stem by brusing away a little soil. If
it looks like a sweet potato, it probably is. Otherwise, my Dioscorea
has a THIN, SINGLE, TOUGH twining vine that comes from the TOP of a
CORM-like structure. If I recall correctly, a sweet potato would
likely have SEVERAL sprouts coming from a VARIOUS POINTS along a
HORIZONTAL TUBER, and those sprouts would tend to be more FLESHY or
SUCCULENT, at least close to the tuber.

Hope this helps.

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