Native Long Yam/Pencil Yam
Native Long Yam/Pencil Yam (Dioscorea transversa)
Size: Climbing vine up to 8 metres depending on host vegetation
Description: Slender climbing vine with distinctive heart shaped leaves and 3 winged seed pods.
Habitat: Found in rainforests, moist open forests and coastal ranges.
Foliage: Alternate heart shaped (elongated) leaves, light to dark green which die back during winter.
Fruit/seeds: Each seed pod has three light green, flat papery wings that collectively hang in clusters, turning whitish brown in winter
Tuber: Edible, cylindrical and can grow deep into the soil (30cm), approx 10-12mm in diameter and 10cm long, follow the vine down into the ground and dig carefully around the tuber with a small digging stick. Tubers in the NT are much larger than the ones found in south eastern Australia
Distribution: Found from mid NSW, through QLD to the NT
Uses: Edible tuber (root vegetable) raw or cooked, high in carbohydrate. Bake in hot ashes for 4-5 mins (small pencil sized tubers). Large tubers such as the ones found in the NT can be baked in a ground oven.