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Dioscorea dodecaneura

(Syn.: Dioscorea discolor), Variegated Monkey Ball Vine, Ornamental Yam

Dioscorea dodecaneura


This is a dramatic tropical vine from Ecuador and Brazil that has brilliantly colored leaves. 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 8 to 12 feet from underground tubers (same genus as edible yams) and has small drooping clusters of tiny white, aromatic flowers. Grow in sun or part shade in rich, well-drained soil with plenty of moisture. If temperatures drop to the mid 30's, it will go dormant. It is winter hardy in USDA Zones 8b - 11, 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. Use on trellises, porches, and pergolas or as a container plant in the greenhouse. It may also be grown as a houseplant in a bright sunny indoor location. Dioscoreaceae

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