air potato

Dioscoreales > Dioscoreaceae > Dioscorea bulbifera L.
Synonym(s): air potato, bitter yam, air-potato, air yam

Air potato is an herbaceous, twining vine that can grow to lengths exceeding 60 ft. (18 m). It invades open areas in the sub-tropical southeastern United States. The leaves are alternate, 8 in. (20.3 cm) long, broadly-heart shaped with prominent veins that resemble greenbrier leaves. The rounded stems are thin and wiry. The chief means of reproduction are aerial, potato-like tubers (bulbils) located at the leaf axils. The vine rarely flowers. Air potato can form dense masses of vines that cover and kill native vegetation including trees within a variety of habitats such as forest edges, hammocks, and many disturbed areas. It was introduced from Africa for food and medicinal purposes in the early 1900s. Air potato is a common and widespread food crop throughout most tropical regions of the world.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources


Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Foliage; in July
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
USDA APHIS PPQ Archive, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); habit
Forest & Kim Starr, U.S. Geological Survey, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
USDA APHIS PPQ Archive, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s);
USDA APHIS PPQ Archive, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); Air bulbils in December
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); bulbils
Karen Brown, University of Florida, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); in December
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); bulbils in December
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Karen Brown, University of Florida, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
Karen Brown, University of Florida, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); habit
Forest & Kim Starr, U.S. Geological Survey, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Amy Ferriter, South Florida Water Management District, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Dan Clark, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Alabama - Noxious Weed Law
  • Alabama - IPC List
  • Florida - EPPC list
  • Georgia - EPPC list
  • Texas - Invasive Plant List
  • Invasive Plants: Guide to Identification and the Impacts and Control of Common North American Species


External Links


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USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia