Question About Yams
Answered by: Conrad Richters
Question from: Travis
Posted on: March 06, 2009

I am interested in purchasing some of your yam seed or plants but I have a few questions first. Regarding Cinnamon Yam: 1) What is the average yield (in pounds) of one cinnamon yam plant?

Sorry, we do not have yield information.

2) Do they produce in the first year?

It is unlikely that they would in Ontario.

3) How tall do the vines get?

In our greenhouses the vines never get to their full length because we repeatedly prune them back. But according to the Plants for a Future database the plant can reach heights as high as 3m (10 ft).

4) Is the yield or taste much different between the seeds and the plants you supply?

There is no difference.

Please note that while cinnamon yams are quite tasty, they do not get to the size of the yams you buy at the grocer. Commercial edible yams are one of several species such as Dioscorea rotundata, D. alata, D. esculenta, and D. trifida. And they should not confused with the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) which is often sold as yam.

5) Can they overwinter in Ontario?

Cinnamon yam is rated hardy in zones 5 to 10. We don’t grow it outdoors here in Goodwood, preferring to overwinter it in our greenhouses for an early start on plant production in spring. But we have heard from customers that it survives winters in the Toronto area; and we have one report of it surviving zone 3 in Alberta.

Regarding: Wild Yam: 1) Is the wild yam tuber edible or purely medicinal?

Wild yam does not produce tubers; rather it produces a large mass of roots. It is not considered edible.

1.1) What is the average yield (in pounds) of one wild yam plant?

Again, we do not have yield information.

2) Do they produce in the first year?

It takes several years to get usable roots.

3) How tall do the vines get?

Like cinnamon yam, the vines reach 3m (10 ft).

4) Is the yield or taste much different between the seeds and the plants you supply?

No difference if you grow it from our plants or root cuttings. We propagate our plants from the same root cuttings.

5) Can they overwinter in Ontario?

We have conflicting reports on its hardiness. Some reports say it is hardy to zone 4 and others say it is only hardy to zone 6. It is reported to be growing wild in Ontario although we have never seen it. It probably reaches its full size in the southern parts of its natural range which extends down to Texas. In Ontario we suspect that it is reliably hardy in zone 6 but will survive some winters in zones 5 and even 4 with protection.

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