Dioscorea floridana

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Dioscorea floridana
Dios flor.jpg
Photo by Shirley Denton (Copyrighted, use by photographer’s permission only), Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
Order: Liliales
Family: Dioscoreaceae
Genus: Dioscorea
Species: D. floridana
Binomial name
Dioscorea floridana
DIOS FLOR dist.jpg
Natural range of Dioscorea floridana from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Florida yam, Florida wild yam

Taxonomic notes

Synonym: Dioscorea villosa L. var. floridana (Bartlett) H.E. Ahles[1]

Varieties: none[1]


A description of Dioscorea floridana is provided in The Flora of North America. Dioscorea floridana is a perennial herbaceous vine. The University of Florida has provided an accessible online PDF on how to differentiate the several species of yam in Florida. See link provided here: [Air Potato PDF] [2] D. floridana species is distinguished by having the two or three staminate inflorescences when compared to D. quaternata and D. villosa.[3]


According to the USDA NRCS website, Dioscorea floridana's distribution occurs in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.[4] Most of its native distribution is in Florida, and only southern Georgia and the southwest corner of South Carolina along the coast.[5] Due to its limited range, it is considered vulnerable on the Global Status. [6]



Generally, D. floridana can be found in dry to mesic forests as well as swampy forests.[1] It has been observed to occur in wet, sandy areas like pond edges, dry slopes, and woodland patches.[7] It has also been found in a coastal hydric hammock and an upland mixed forest in the Waccasassa Bay State Preserve in Levy county, Florida.[8] This species is also restricted to native growth areas rather than old fields that were abandoned agriculture.[9]

Associated species: Carya glabra, C. tomentosa, Pinus palustris, Cornus florida, Collinsonia anisata, Vaccinium stamineum var. stamineum, Vaccinium sp., Quercus falcata, Quercus pumila, Morella cerifera, Rubus cuneifolius, Viburnum rufidulum, and Erianthus sp.[7]


This species flowers from June to July as well as from August to November.[1] D. floridana has been observed flowering in March.[10]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

While it is not listed for any conservation population concerns, D. floridana has such a limited native range that leads it to be of conservational interest.[4]

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Weakley, A.S. 2020. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Edition of 20 October 2020. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. [Air Potato PDF] Accessed: April 22, 2016.
  3. Ihsan A. AL-Shehbaz and Bernice G. Schubert (1810) The Discoreaceae in the Southeastern United States. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 70(1) 57.59
  4. 4.0 4.1 [USDA NRCS Plant Database] Access: April 22, 2016. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "USDA" defined multiple times with different content
  5. Sorrie, B. A. and A. S. Weakley (2001). "Coastal plain vascular plant endemics: Phytogeographic Patterns." Castanea 66(1/2): 50-82.
  6. [Nature Serve] Accessed: April 22, 2016.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu. Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Robert K. Godfrey and Lisa Keppner. States and Counties: Florida: Washington. Georgia: Thomas.
  8. Abbott, J. R. and W. S. Judd. (2000). "Floristic inventory of the Waccasassa Bay State Preserve, Levy county, Florida." Rhodora 102(912): 439-513.
  9. Ostertag, T. E. and K. M. Robertson (2007). A comparison of native versus old-field vegetation in upland pinelands managed with frequent fire, south Georgia, USA. Proceedings of the 23rd Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference: Fire in Grassland and Shrubland Ecosystems, Tallahassee, Tall Timbers Research Station.
  10. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. www.gilnelson.com/PanFlora/ Accessed: 8 DEC 2016