A bit like the ruin of an ancient city wall, the caudex base of an old Dioscorea hemicrypta plant may be very broad. What look like branches or major segments have their own roots below and stems above, but still they link to each other in one identity.
Erosion of the topsoil exposes some roots here. More dry stems than green ones are present at the top. Gnarling of the bark on the caudex has ravaged the surface prettiness to some extent. Still, it is an impressive specimen living not too far from Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo.
Respect for seniority is in order.