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Medicinal, culinary and unusual botanicals from Australia and around the world

Dioscorea hemicrypta – Elephant’s Foot (plant)

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Smaller tuber than D. elephantipes with a more flattened appearance, Dioscorea hemicrypta forms a large above and below ground tuber that can be raised for effect as a succulent bonsai. Keep dry in the dormant period of the year where they lose their leaves.

This member of the Dioscoreaceae family was described by Isaac Henry Burkill in 1952. It is found in South Africa, in the Calitzdorp area, growing in well drained soil with some water and some sun but it prefers a shaded position. The caudex can grow up to 50cm in diameter and 1.5 metres in height. The vines will reach four meters or more. The flowers are greenish. Dioscorea is named after Pedianos Dioscorides, a Greek physician in the 1st century AD. The species name from hémi; ‘half’ and crypta; ‘hidden’ (adapted from here).

Care and Cultivation of Dioscorea hemicrypta

Dioscorea hemicrypta 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. Autumn/winter grower.

1 plant (approx 2 years old, 3 plants available only)


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