Chinese Yams have smaller more delicate leaves than White Yams and in that way their beauty is more subtle. The actual yams are very long and skinny and probably best grown in deeply dug, raised beds if you are serious about production. See this man taking them out of a purpose-built planter box:
But Chinese Yams ride through it all with no problems and do not rot at all. Their foliage also persists long into winter and still looks good too even after a few cold nights. This is a plant that deserves to be grown more commonly as a deciduous herbaceous climber with the added bonus of edible tubers.At present they are not sold in nurseries and you can't buy them from such pioneers of alternative edibles as Greenharvest or Isabella Shipard. I'll work with my students at Burnley this year to see if we can change that in some way.
If you're from southern Australia have a look at the following video of a Chinese gentleman growing a commercial yam crop in the (relatively) cold Otway Ranges south-east of Melbourne. Quite extraordinary, I'd love to meet this guy.
Finally, a shot of Chinese Yam foliage from my garden this year:
|Chinese Yam growing up a trellis with Brazilian Spinach and Mushroom Plant growing underneath|