An aggressive, nonwoody, deciduous perennial vine that can overtake acres of vegetation, similar to kudzu, climbing over shrubs and trees.
Leaves usually opposite (sometimes alternate toward branch tips), green, with 7-9 parallel veins, fiddle-shaped or heart-shaped, with pointed tip and two lobes near the base of the leaf. New growth often has a reddish coloration at the base of the leaves.
Stems are round, slender, twining; plants usually die back to ground and resprout in spring.
Flowers tiny, white to greenish-yellow, with scent of cinnamon. Male and female flowers are formed on separate plants, and female plants have not been observed in the wild in our country.
Fruits: Chinese yam is not known to produce seed in the United States, although bulbils, which resemble tiny Irish potatoes and are not technically fruits, are produced in the leaf axils.