Dioscorea hemicrypta (seed)
It is thought that Dioscorea hemicrypta may form part of the same species as Dioscorea elephantipes, and staff at Kew are currently working as part of a project to investigate this. Dioscorea hemicrypta, which also occurs in South Africa, is considered to differ from Dioscorea elephantipes in having a lobed tuber, less of which is exposed above the ground, and slightly differently shaped leaf-bases with a shallower sinus (area between the lobes of the leaf) from Kew Gardens website.
Dioscorea hemicrypta will live for approx. 70 years in cultivation, if it is looked after. Remember it drops its leaves in late November. Do not over-water during the summer months, as this will shorten its life span by at least half. Dioscorea hemicrypta needs a rest period. In its natural environment it rests during the hot dry summer; grows in the winter and the spring months.
Care and Cultivation
Sow seeds in autumn in the southern hemisphere, keep just covered under the surface of a well drained cacti/succulent mix, keeping moist until germination. Seed can take up to six months to germinate. Likes a full sun or part shade position and is tolerant of extreme heat and heavy frost. Extremely drought tolerant due to the water storing capacities of the tuber.
5 seeds per packet