Herb with annual twining stems 2-4 m long; tuber often deep in the soil, cylindrical, widespread, chiefly in warmer rainforest and moist sclerophyll forest. Leaves ovate to broad-triangular, to 12 cm long, base cordate (heart shaped) or rarely hastate (with flaring pointed lobes at the base), petiole 1-9 cm long, usually swollen at the top end and twisted at the bottom end. The pod of Dioscorea transversa is an important food plant for hawk moths. The Black-and-White Skipper butterfly also feeds on this yam and has been slowly moving south from its original populations at Mackay munching on these plants. Entomologists suspect the move of this buttefly may be climate change induced.
Photo: Robert Whyte