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Air Potato

Dioscorea bulbifera

Other Common Names

None for this invasive

Plant Category

Vine

Invasive Description

A native to Africa and tropical Asia, Air Potato was first observed in the U.S. in Alabama in the 1770s It was first introduced to Florida in 1905. Air Potato is an herbaceous, high climbing vine to 65 feet long, covering shrubs and trees. Flowers are inconspicuous. Twining and sprawling stems support with long-petioled, heart-shaped leaves. The vine spreads vegetatively by dangling potato-like tubers held at leaf axils and by large underground tubers. The plant was originally cultivated as a possible food crop and ornamental in the 1800s.

Ecological Threat

Due to its ability to displace native species and disrupt natural processes such as fire and water flow, Air Potato has been listed as one of the most invasive plant species in Florida since 1993. Air Potato can grow at a rate of 8” per day, climbing into tree canopies and having a tendency to take over native plants. The aerial stems of air potato die back in winter, but resprouting occurs from bulbils and underground tubers. Although Air potato produces a species of yam, it is not recommended to eat as it can be toxic to humans.

How to Eradicate

For information on how to eradicate this invasive, view our statement on herbicide use and preferred alternatives for invasive plants.

Native Alternatives

You can replace this invasive plant with native alternatives. Here are some plants that make superior replacements.

Match your location on the Texas map to the color squares on the replacement plants below to find suitable replacements for your ecoregion.

Click for more details about the ecoregions