Dioscorea bulbils

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

So I am at the local Cactus Club earlier today, and a little old lady asked if I wanted this cutting with seeds wrapped in cellophane. In inquired, and she said it was Dioscorea, and the seeds were not seeds, but bulbils. So I bit. I have no idea what the plant is as I was not told a species name.

Now what should I do? Pot them up? Let them rest and start growing in the spring? Toss as Dioscorea is a pain in the butt to care for, and they are likely worthless as they are just potatoes.

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 5a)

I would guess you received Dioscorea bulbifera. I just purchased this plant off of eBay earlier this year and the vine is beautiful. The plant produces bulbils or tubers along the stem. The tubers look almost exactly like potatoes.

How big are the bulbils? I had some on my vine that were the size of a dime and I had others that were larger than a large hens egg.

This is my first year growing this plant so I'm not sure if the plant can be kept growing year around.

To store the bulbils, I would put them in a zip-top bag with some dry vermiculite and keep them in a cool, dry spot for the winter. In February or March I would pot them up or plant them in the ground (or whenever it is safe to plant bulbs in your area.)

The leaves are quite large and very ornamental. I had my plant in a pot this year, but I have kept a couple of the bulbils for myself and I will plant them in the ground next to a trellis to see what happens. I have heard that the plant produces small, white, fragrant flowers, also.

Another Dioscorea with truely spectacular leaves is Dioscorea discolor. This plant also produces tubers, but in the soil rather than along the stems. The leaves on this plant are a dark purple on the back with purple and silver on the top of the leaf. Here is a link to a pic in plantfiles: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/106703/
Good luck,

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