Dioscorea hemicrypta - 5 seeds
Dioscorea is a genus of over 600 species of flowering plants, native throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions of the world. The vast majority of the species are tropical, with only a few species extending into temperate climates. It is named after the ancient Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides.
Dioscorea hemicrypta is endemic to the Little Karoo and Eastern Cape where the plants occur in mountainous habitat. The caudiciform stem of the plant normally remains underground but does protrude above ground with age or if some underground obstacle prevents it from contracting deeper. Although Dioscorea hemicrypta can be cultivated in the open, the plants normally avoid the hot sunny northern slopes of hillsides. Similar to other members of the genus, the plant is a climber and grows entangled in other shrubs for support of its branches. In habitat, the caudex is often damaged giving many plants a sickly appearance. Some plants, however, are beautifully shaped with impressive patterns on the stem. The seeds are distributed by wind