Chinese Wild Yam, Cinnamon Vine

Dioscorea oppositifolia

Family: Dioscoreaceae
Genus: Dioscorea (dy-oh-SKOR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: oppositifolia (op-po-sit-ee-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Dioscorea batatas
Synonym:Dioscorea opposita
Synonym:Dioscorea divaricata


Edible Fruits and Nuts


Vines and Climbers

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade





Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Pale Pink

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Birmingham, Alabama

Mesa, Arizona

Little Rock, Arkansas

Chester, Connecticut

Orange Springs, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Dundee, Illinois

Lake In The Hills, Illinois

Washington, Indiana

Brooksville, Kentucky

Canaan, Maine

Falmouth, Maine

Farmington, Maine

Warren, Michigan

Smithfield, North Carolina

Bucyrus, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Roscoe, Pennsylvania

Pawleys Island, South Carolina

Johnson City, Tennessee

Lafayette, Tennessee

Mc Minnville, Tennessee

Westmoreland, Tennessee

De Leon, Texas

Roanoke, Virginia

Twin Lakes, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 2, 2016, Ted_B from Birmingham, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant makes a 12-15' vine in the first year, and really takes off in the second to well over 20'. Plants can be grown in a large container for control. Just be sure to collect the bulbil "air potatoes"...and roast them. Eventually, one can harvest what will be a sizable and delicious, but fragile tuber in the fall, and start a new plant in the spring.


On Jul 27, 2013, Dean48089 from Warren, MI (Zone 6b) wrote:

I am always looking for vines to grow in the spring-flowering bushes because, frankly, many of those bushes don't look like much the rest of the year. I bought this plant as Dioscorea batatas, an older name, also because I thought having a winter-hardy sweet potato would be cool. My only mistake was in that it needs VERY large bushes or even small trees in which to grow. Whomever put "8-10 feet" must live in the upper Yukon or something. These plants routinely grow 20+ feet each year, from the ground, here in southeast Michigan. I can see were it would be invasive out in the wild, but here in my garden it is relatively easy to control. Just snap off the vines at ground level. There'll be another, and perhaps another, but eventually the tuber gives up and dies. I seldom do that beca... read more


On May 12, 2013, SteveOh from Cherry Grove, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

Plants are slow to start in the first year, with no flowers but a few bulbils. In the second year (I left them in the ground over winter z6) the growth is much stronger, 10' by mid May with thick red-purple vines and leaves. Quite striking in the spring, the vines look similar to long, thin, purple asparagus spears without leaves for several weeks, they were nearly 8' tall before the first red-purple leaves unfurled.

I have them surrounded by concrete walkways due to reports of the plants being very invasive, but so far I've not had any volunteers sprouting.

The bulbils are quite tasty, I honey roast them like peanuts and the family really enjoys eating them.


On Mar 18, 2012, daveman from Johnson City, TN wrote:

Seen these around forever, pretty invasive and the flowers smell just like big red chewing gum, very noticeable just passing by them.


On Jul 1, 2009, sharonf1 from Lake in the Hills, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Planted on the north side of the house close to the foundation (full shade). It dies back every year at frost and returns in the same spot. By the end of June it fills out a trellis nicely and provides a nice back drop for the rest of the garden. I grew this at my last house on the south side (partial sun due to wooded lot) and it behaved there as well. Living in an area where the growing time is so short is probably what makes this plant enjoyable for me instead of a nuisance.


On Dec 19, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Chinese Wild Yam, Cinnamon Vine Dioscorea oppositifolia is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.


On Jul 2, 2006, podster from Deep East Texas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant produces plenty of tubers to share. If some escape, the plantlets are easy to pull up and repot. Insignificant blooms are supposed to smell like cinnamon. Great in a window box or planter.


On Nov 21, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Hortus Third indicates it is root-hardy to USDA Zone 5, and can persist for years.


On Jun 28, 2003, bovinekdg wrote:

This plant is terribly invasive. Each litle "potato" grows. It covers and smothers everything. It is impossible to get rid of. It is a nightmare when it gets loose! I have it places I cannot figure out how I got it there. If you plant it watch it and don't put the potatoes where you don't want them!(I have had it for 30+ years and it has been here much longer than that.)


On Oct 7, 2002, Michaelp from johnson city, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Plant produces small bulbs at the leaf axils in the fall and these are what are planted, they all grow. The first year the flowers did not form and growth was slow, after that, much faster growth and flowers.

I think this is a very attractive plant. The flowers have a strong cinnamon scent. The tubers will get huge, as they grow each year. The bulbs on the top part taste good, and are the size of peanuts, and the tuber is good to eat also, but it must be cooked.The root can be prepared for cooking by gently scraping the skin and bumps off with the edge of a sharp knife

The root and bulbs for planting should not freeze; plant after all danger of frost is past, and should be mulched. This plant can - and most likely will - be invasive.
2/8/04 ... read more