Chinese Mountain Yam
Chinese mountain yam is one of the few tubers grown commercially in China and used extensively as a source of starch. Until recently this species was used only as an ornamental in the U.S, for the sweet smelling cinnamon like blossoms and rarely thought of as a delicious tuber. Not so much anymore where people are trying to find a perennial potato like substitute with less horticultural issues. Mountain yam also produces aerial tubers which grow along the vine as it grows up to 15 ft. tall or more. These tubers will reach up to 1/2 inch in size and can be picked and added to soups and stews. If the tubers are left on, they will drop to the ground and freeze to mush in the winter rarely spreading beyond the planting. The in ground tubers are best harvested in 1-2 years. After that they seem to break down here in Michigan. They are great stir fried in ghee or sesame oil and are easily digestible. You can also grow them to enormous size reaching 5-10 lbs each. This species is edible and should not to be confused with the poisonous species found in Florida or the indigenous North American species which are also not edible known for their steroidal properties.
Plant SpecsGenus & Species:
Dioscorea batatasSeed Source:
Grows best in sandy loam or clay loam soils where roots are not impeded by rocks.Climate:
Zone 5ish-9. Not particular.Ease of Cultivation:
Anyone can grow. Yields not a problem. Best to have a simple method of extraction like a grow bag with handles in the ground. Culinary uses are open to interpretation! Very easy to cook as well. For us-ghee and any spice is done deal.