... seen anything like them before. They range in size from the smallest like that of a strawberry to the largest like that of a small Idaho potato. I found them sitting on the top of the ground at the base of a large water oak tree in southeast Louisiana. Only small vines are growing up the trunk and I think them to be poison ivy.
There is very little evidence of a stem on the ends and the covering is dry and paper like, almost like flakes. When cut into the interior is similar to a potato and smells similar.
OldWrangler wrote:We got them all over Texas. We call them Merlitons. Some people who have seen them all over Louisiana call them Cajun potatoes. I have heard they are edible but I wouldn't swar to it.
Not Merlitons. I've grown and eaten those. Not at all the same as this.
My neighbor grows them on all his trees. He says they cook up like a squash but are a little sweeter. He says they also make a good soup linda like potato soup. There is a form of this plant that grows in Mexico that is called Chayote. A little different in shape, more pear shaped
than the Merliton but probably same family. And you can plant these and a new vine will grow. They climb trees very well and freeze back with a light frost in the fall, only to return the next spring. The leaves are big and green and quite attractive.
I think Growin is correct. The photos of the "Air Potato" Dioscorea bulbifera match my samples perfectly. The vine (which is now dried up and leafless in winter) I mistook for Poison Ivy must be the subject plant. Thanks for the fast replies.