Dioscorea Species, Air Potato, Air Yam, Bitter Yam, Potato Yam

Dioscorea bulbifera

Family: Dioscoreaceae
Genus: Dioscorea (dy-oh-SKOR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: bulbifera (bulb-EE-fer-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Dioscorea latifolia


Vines and Climbers

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Grown for foliage




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


over 40 ft. (12 m)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Pale Green

Chartreuse (yellow-green)

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Fall/Early Winter

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From bulbils

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Daphne, Alabama(2 reports)

Grady, Alabama

Jones, Alabama

Lexington, Alabama

Loxley, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama

Fullerton, California

Hayward, California

Bartow, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Bradley, Florida

Citra, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fountain, Florida

Fruitland Park, Florida

Groveland, Florida

Holiday, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(3 reports)

Jupiter, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Lehigh Acres, Florida

Longwood, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Miami, Florida(2 reports)

Niceville, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Orange Springs, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida(2 reports)

Sarasota, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Tampa, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida(3 reports)

Atlanta, Georgia

Decatur, Georgia

Lawrenceville, Georgia

Honomu, Hawaii

Bloomington, Indiana

Barbourville, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Lacombe, Louisiana

Slidell, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

Clinton, Mississippi

Mccomb, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Henderson, North Carolina

Oxford, North Carolina

Vass, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Conway, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina

Knoxville, Tennessee

Alvin, Texas

Aransas Pass, Texas

Austin, Texas(2 reports)

Baytown, Texas

De Leon, Texas

Deer Park, Texas

Dickinson, Texas

Houston, Texas(4 reports)

Humble, Texas

Jacksonville, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Pearland, Texas

Santa Fe, Texas

Snook, Texas

Weatherford, Texas

Arlington, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 30, 2019, yrrej from El Paso, TX wrote:

This plant is commonly sold here in El Paso. Two types: one with purple leaves and one with light green leaves. It will not survive the winter here for the most part, the entire plant dying, so, attractive as it is, save your money if you plan to put it outside. Yes, the root is poisonous. It's always been poisonous and is processed in the rest of the tropical world, where it is a major food source, before it is eaten. The garden types have been produced to look attractive, not for eating in any case. I really like the appearance of these plants, so tried growing them in various places around the yard, but they died completely with the 20 degree F winters here.


On Aug 3, 2017, DianeMarieBryja from Magnolia, TX wrote:

This vine showed up in my yard 3 years ago. I loved the leaves and therefore planted more from the potatoes. The yard is out of control -- yes invasive. Had no idea all the cons so I'll start digging them up and burning (heard good way to dispose of). I live north of Houston.


On Dec 9, 2016, Endoproxy wrote:

It appears that either a lot of people on here did not do their homework or they inherited the product of another gardeners ignorance. Every gardener should do their homework before planting anything! In regards to this particular species, clearly the situation has gotten way out of hand but I can almost guarantee it started due to ignorance of the plant. I see it all the time and it's frustrating, particularly when you inherit someone else's problem.

Gardening rules to save you and your neighbors gardening headaches:

(1) Know the plant, do your research! If in doubt, take precautions eg. grow it in a container first.

(2) If you know something is aggressive, either contain it well or don't grow it at all.

(3) Above all else don't ... read more


On Oct 8, 2016, headonstraight from Florence, AL wrote:

As a consulting biologist, I have covered many miles of oil and gas pipelines in the southern U.S., identifying and mapping the locations of endangered plants and invasive plant species. The air potato is indeed a major league nuisance species and should never be introduced to new locations in south and central Florida or in the southern portions of other Gulf states where it can over-winter and continue its invasive behavior. Florida, alas, is so heavily contaminated with exotic invasive plant species that, in my professional opinion, it is futile to hope for any kind of recovery to natural conditions in most of the southern 3/4 of that state. A fairly recent menace is the dreaded Cogon grass, which is useless as a pasture grass and quickly occupies large areas of lands once suitable fo... read more


On Jun 7, 2016, ashleysgarden from Davenport, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

A neighbor to a small largely specialty plant nursery planted 1 air potato... it covered his own (muli-acre) property and is constantly trying to invade the nursery...

in some young fruiting eugenias i brought home I suddenly had vines. were hard to eradicate even from little quart pots!

sounds cool, I thought it looked neat when he explained what it was, but is a tough pest plant. little bits of 'potato' or maybe even vine or root can regenerate.


On Mar 3, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

There is much confusion about the toxicity of this species. There are cultivated forms that have had the toxins bred out of them, but many wild forms, including the one prevalent in Florida, have poisonous tubers. [[email protected]]

Naturalized from Texas to Georgia. Alabama and Florida have listed it as a noxious weed. In Palm Beach County, FL, where I've gardened, this is one of 9 legally prohibited species. This is also a pest plant in Hawaii.

"Noxious weed" is a legal term for a plant that causes problems in agriculture or ranching, and for which the state has the legal right to come onto your land to eradicate the plant and charge you for it. It also in... read more


On Jul 8, 2014, amscram from Baton Rouge, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Air potato started growing in the area between my house and the neighbor's place about five years ago (don't know how it got there), and was scrambling up the crepe myrtles. The extra leaves added to the wind resistance of the myrtles (not good during hurricanes and high winds!). I decided to eradicate it. Well, it's taken three years of diligently pulling up the sprouts, but I think I've finally done it. Not one came up this spring. So it can be done, but you've got to be patient and keep at it. Plus, it was an area of only maybe 300-400 square feet total. As many folks have said, if you live in the humid subtropical South, do not plant this.


On Jan 31, 2013, ransom3 from Zephyrhills, FL wrote:

It grows heavily around here, but I do not find it impossible to get rid of as many Floridians say. The plants are very easy to pull up and if you rake up all the tubers that have fallen, then they are gone. Problem solved.


On Jul 22, 2012, Allenph from High Springs, FL wrote:

I have been looking for a Dioscorea ALATA (not bulbifera) for months. They taste exactly like a potato . Bulbifera is POISONOUS and the underground tubers are actually "adventurous air potatoes" you can tell which one you have simply by looking at the leaves. Bulbifera has staggered leaves while the alata has paired leaves. I cultivate the alata here in Florida and have been for years. I use them for everything from flour for bread to just a normal substitute for potatoes. IF you put work into it they won't spread. I recommend digging an unfenced plot in the middle of a field with nothing for it to climb on. This way your potatoes stay manageable and the tubers don't get mangled and nasty looking. Simply kill anything that escapes the hole. Just to be on the safe side once I harvest every... read more


On Jul 3, 2012, HL_Nursery777 from Dunnellon, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

YIKES! That vine that ate the Kudzu! These things are crazy! I have watched over the years a field that is the size of a few acres becoming blanketed by this weed over, and over, and over. But wait, I must tell you the story of this field first.
In 2004, the storms came, and went. These stroms blew all the invasive's seeds right to this very field. (This field was not infested before the storms.) I now call it "the battleground" beacuse that is just what it is, all sorts of invasives competing for sunlight, soil, and space. This field has been mowed around so they are all limited to this space. The field at least consists of these invasives:
Air Potato, Kudzu, Skunk Vine, Old world climing fern (The old world climing fern just showed up in the middle of nowhere, and is gain... read more


On Jun 6, 2012, Horologium from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant is evil objectified.

The home we are currently renting is located next to a house which was owned by an elderly lady who died, and whose lawn service was only going through the motions (doing the bare minimum needed to keep the place presentable). I don't know if it was planted deliberately or was an accidental growth, but this plant has crossed the fenceline and I have been kept busy digging up newly sprouted tubers, and cutting back the horrible, snarled vines. I actually went into her back yard on Monday and pulled out three lawn-and-leaf bags full of air potato vines, trying to pull out the tubers as well. I found three dead shrubs/small trees which were simply serving as trellises for this noxious weed. While cleaning out the mess from the air potato, I also ... read more


On Jun 2, 2012, leita from Rockport, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I'll add a positive review of this plant. I pulled up a sprig growing in Rockport, TX three years ago and planted it to twine up an old oak tree. The leaves are indeed beautiful and it gave me a handful of seeds. It died off after a cold snap in winter. I planted the seeds the following spring and they all died during last summer's record-breaking heat and drought.
I agree under good conditions in places like Florida, they can be a nuisance, but here in S. Texas the weather keeps them from becoming invasive.


On Jan 16, 2012, gaelen38 from Zephyrhills, FL wrote:

I live in Zephyrhills, FL. and i brought home a couple of "Kudzu" potato's a few years ago. All this has done is propagate over and over from every potato that develops on the vine. The reason it kills tree's and shrubs is because it grows so well in the humidity and shade, it also sucks the water out of the ground taking it away from other plants you want to keep and filters out the essential and beneficial sunlight that normal plants crave. Once you have it, it's yours forever, and keeping up with the potato's is a losing battle! Even the tiniest node will produce a plant that grows 60 to 80 feet into the sky, up tree trunks or anything for it to climb on, and as stated by others, it WILL take over your other plants and KILL them! I DO NOT recommend planting this ANYWHERE because you wil... read more


On Oct 27, 2011, lclorraine from Knoxville, TN wrote:

Listen, Dave's Garden, it is totally irresponsible of you not to have clear postings of information on plants that are non-native (exotic) INVASIVE species on your web site. You post these plants as if they are just like native plants or innocuous nursery stock. In reality, they are listed by various organizations as a threat to native biodiversity. This species is listed by the Exotic Pest Plant Council. It is listed as NOXIOUS in Alabama and Florida and as the climate warms (and it is warming, folks), you people who Love this plant up in more northern climates may find, like we have here in the south, that you've made the worst mistake of your life bringing this thing into your life. GET RESPONSIBLE IN YOUR PLANTINGS. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE INASIVE EXOTIC SPECIES AND DO EVER... read more


On Jul 18, 2011, nel5397 from Groveland, FL wrote:

This stuff is just as bad as kudzu. It grows 6 to 10 inches a day in the springtime until it reaches 60 ft. It produces tubers in Sept. when the days are as long as the nights.


On Mar 12, 2011, luciee from Hanceville, AL (Zone 7a) wrote:

Since this is invasive plant week, I am glad to see all this info. I sure would not plant this at my house. Luciee


On Feb 22, 2011, Munga from Weatherford, TX wrote:

I live in North Central Texas and the Air Potato grows very well here. They are NOT invasive or problematic here. In fact, I grow them for the foliage because my air potato vines do not produce a good crop of "tators". The largest one I've ever had was about the size of a quarter and the largest crop was only three on one plant. I have not had any problems with them spreading. Our climate is much too dry and arid. I'm sure they are a great nuisance in more tropical climates but there is absolutely no danger of them being that way here. I am hoping to find someone willing to trade with me.


On Dec 11, 2010, nativelyeager from Brooksville, FL wrote:

Air potato is a nightmare and anyone who cares at all about the natural environment or getting along with neighbors will never plant this. It is INVASIVE to the worst degree in Florida's tropical, subtropical, and southern temperate areas. The cost in time and dollars to taxpayers and private property owners is enormous and increasing. Sacrificing your garden and nearby natural areas to this plant is not worth it on any level just because it is an 'interesting' plant.


On Sep 24, 2010, eatmyplants from Comanche county, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I always wanted to try this plant and had to buy a few bulbs from an ebay seller to get a start. I planted about 20 bulbs in late April 2010. It took about 2 weeks or more for them to germinate but I got almost 100% germination. They grew fairly slowly at first and about the time they were taking off, the hot weather hit and they slowed down a lot. It was very hard to keep them watered because of the pure sand they are planted in, even with heavy mulch. I planted them all on a chain link fence except for one in a small pot with a stick in the middle. I think only two have survived on the fence and the one in the pot survived well and did the best. Just two days ago I noticed it made around 10 potatoes. I promptly planted them in the ground. I think this plant doesn't like extreme heat and ... read more


On Aug 13, 2010, jamesleesmith from Lexington, AL wrote:

I have had this plant on my farm for 3 years. It is wild, I did not plant it. This year it bloomed and fruited. All the info that I find says that it will not bloom or bear fruit this far north. I live in Alabama, 90 miles south of Nashville, TN. I am surprised by this plant's presence, and the verdict is still out. I am Cherokee and am studying edible wild plants. I hear that this potato is both poisonous and edible, does any have guidance here? Thanks.


On May 7, 2010, HolyChickin from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:


This vine was growing in a park across the street from my house and killed pretty much every tree in there by choking them to death. It was pretty sad to see all of those trees gone. Now of course, it is starting to sprout up around the yard. I kicked it old school and yanked some up yesterday. But there were a few that wouldn't budge!

I read that Round-up will work too. Gonna try that and see what happens! Hopefully, by doing my little part I will keep then from spreading some more and killing off any more trees. There are some pretty old Banyan trees in my neighborhood... it would be sad to see them killed off too.

If you are in Florida, please do the rest of the state a favor and DO NOT grow this plant. As pretty as you think it... read more


On Mar 30, 2010, dhemi from Saint Petersburg, FL wrote:

YES, this is a very pretty vine in the beginning. Just wait a few years and you will have the largest battle on your hands that you've ever experienced! That's why I'm looking it up. Kills everything in it's path. You have to stand guard, day and night to control it. Maybe the Northerners don't have the problem but don't even think about starting it in the south. Birds or kids throwing the potatoes started ours! just an FYI


On Nov 30, 2009, billcolliver from Slidell, LA wrote:

Found a vine on the railroad property north of slidell, la. across the street from my house. Asked the wife about it and she recognized it. That's how I came to this forum. Nice looking vine. Maybe free food!


On Jun 24, 2009, rbarzilla from Houston, TX wrote:

Horribly invasive


On Oct 28, 2008, hobbyodlaren from Link,
Sweden (Zone 5b) wrote:

I grow this in my porch in a big pot every summer, and it is my most beautiful climber, no bugs or other disease seems to like the plant. I think not it can be invasible in my country. Its to cold here. I ONLY WHISH I could get a bulb of Dioscorea discolor also to grow beside this in my porch.
Lovely plant.


On Sep 5, 2008, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

All those negatives by the southeasteners should encourage Californians to TRY IT!..a very attractive vine with large pleated,dark green leaves.Moderate grower outdoors in the bay area, I grew it originally in a greenhouse where it was very fast. The problem for Californians is the brown snail will eat every part of this plant. After a good first year,the pests ate too much of the spring growth and my young vine was killed.
It really is a very nice potted plant also with hanging 'potatos'
As you might think a yam relative with hot and wet/humid needs isnt going to become invasive in California. Keeping it going year to year isn't easy.


On Sep 5, 2008, seatick from Fruitland Park, FL wrote:

I cannot say enough about this most INVASIVE of plants in my attempt to discourage anyone from growing it.

I acquired a lovely 3 acre CLEAR lot with naturally moist, fertile soil. I wanted to grow something and I thought the vines I had seen growing wild in the ditches with the heart-shaped leaves would look nice and lend an air of "quick" fix for my naked land.

WHAT A HUGE MISTAKE!!! I spent the next 30 years battling this plant as I watched it quickly take over every square inch of land.... the house, trees, EVERYTHING!!! Hundreds of dollars were spent on herbicides in my attempt to rid my property of this PEST. I spent thousands of hours with a machete in hand cutting, ripping, pulling,....... ANYTHING to try and rid my land of this vine.

Ev... read more


On Aug 11, 2008, southernjenny from Bloomington, IN wrote:

I wouldn't plant that vine if I were you. I got it in my yard because of rescuing some heirloom plants from a construction site. Unfortunately I didn't recognize it before it established itself under my beautiful mock orange hedge. I have battled it for the last 10 years in my yard as it tries to creep through my grass and vines up my hedges and trees. Unfortunatly now it has spread to my two neighbor's yards and I feel very guilty about it. I can now recognize it as readily as poison ivy and have the same reaction to it.
Rush for the chemicals! Kill! Kill!

There are lots of other pretty vines that won't take out the native habitat if it escapes your lawn, please consider them instead before all your neighbors hate you like mine does. Lest you think that th... read more


On Jul 10, 2008, Tetrazygia from Miami, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Highly invasive in Florida. Despite what some may want to think, it does take over natural environments, and is very much subtropical Florida's version of kudzu.

Comments [advocating planting it] show nothing short of a full disregard of natural environments and law, considering this plant is listed on every invasive list there is for Florida and is illegal to possess. But congratulations to the author! That post has now been memorialized in a Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council paper about Air Potato.

According to that same paper, "Air potato causes ecological damage by climbing other vegetation and forming dense canopies that shade out, and may cause the collapse, of native plants (Gordon et. al., 1999; Schmitz et al., 1997; Schultz, 1993). Air potato is... read more


On Jun 26, 2007, parrotma32578 from Niceville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I adore my air potato vines! I keep a really close eye on all plants in my yard (in other words, I don't have a life...LOL). I check out every plant (100's) every day. I watch every twist and curve of my air potato vines and direct them on the paths I want using hardware, rods, posts, etc. I have this vine in numerous areas of my yard: over my arbor, encircling my waterfall and fountain, up the ladders to my granddaughter's tree house, up all 4 legs of my wooden swing, encircling wooden landscaping fence sections, etc. Strays are promptly dug up and placed in areas where they can be more appreciated. Look at the symmetry of the leaves and the veining--they are stunning.


On May 29, 2007, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I can't give this vine a negative because I do not have the same experience everyone else does. It climbs on my chain link fence in a few sections, but seems very mild. Every so often I yank out a section but would hardly call it work.

It is a pretty vine with bright color, so I don't make a big deal out of removing it from my garden area. In comparison to the other potato vine I grow, this one pales greatly.

It dies back with the winter and has to start all over again the next spring.


On Apr 28, 2007, Thebestgardner from Miami, FL wrote:

I live in Miami, Florida and have thousands of these plants growing on an acre that I have just purchased.

I am a SLAVE to them !!!

For those of you who are growing them for beauty and live in Florida you can go to jail for them. Get on the Internet and see that cities have regular "collections" and every one you have collected you should burn.


On Apr 7, 2007, pmgflowers from Decatur, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

The untended yard that came along with the old (ca 1920s) house I purchased in Decatur, Georgia has been a challenge to tame (I haven't won yet). The privet, bamboo, English ivy, and wild violets all combined have not caused me nearly as much misery and heartache as the air potato. The harder I fight it, the stronger it grows. This year I'm going to try putting sheets of landscape cloth underneath the vines that will inevitably return, and gather the potatoes daily. (Last year I went out every day and picked them off the ground, but it's impossible to get them all, once they hit the dirt.) All I want is to give my cannas and daylilies a fighting chance.


On Jan 8, 2007, windystout from Safety Harbor, FL wrote:

This is very evasive weed of which the state of Florida is attemping to eradicate. It is on their "noxious weed" list..The
plant is very difficult to get rid of once it takes over. It threatens Florida' s natural hammocks and hardwood forests and is very toxic to the wildlife..Please , Please to not contribute to the problem of "it takeover of our environment" by cultivating and purposely growing this noxious weed.


On Dec 27, 2006, corgimom from Pontotoc, MS (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have grown this plant for years and have never found it to be invasive. It has never come back from either roots or potatoes for me ! I let this grow up a trellis each year and it has never strayed. I always tell people that get a potato from me that it is invasive in some areas.


On Dec 19, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Air Potato Dioscorea bulbifera is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.


On Sep 30, 2006, TIMESOY from Tampa, FL wrote:

My experience with Dioscorea bulbifera has been very positive.

This beautiful green, rapidly growing vine gives a lush ropical rainforest appearance to my Florida garden. It thrives in deep shade and if there is nothing to climb, will provide a wonderfully dense groundcover (do not walk on it frequently.)

Those who prefer to micro-control their environments may use exaggerated descriptions such as "invasive", "noxious" and "damaging to the ecosystem (How?!) but this plant can be easily contained in your garden with the usual gardening practices of trimming and uprooting every few days if you wish, just as you would with any plant.

Editor's Note

Dioscorea bulbifera is classified as a noxious weed in both Florida and Alabama.


On Aug 7, 2006, robinng from Sabah,
Malaysia wrote:

I was given some bulbs of Dioscorea bulbifera by a friend about 3 years ago. I was told by him it's call "Ah shou wu" in Chinese. Direct translated means something like Mr. Black Head, because it is believed that this plant is used as a herb to prevent the growth of grey hair if consumed regularly. As the Chinese have black hair, thus "Mr. Black Hair." The potatoes are not only edible, but very tasty when cooked as soup. I love it so much, so I saved one and planted it on my fence. Unfortunately, before it could bear any potatoes, it was destroyed by my dog. It is definately edible.


On Jul 1, 2006, princessnonie from New Caney, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Zone 8b they freeze to the ground, but return..Mine are in shade and arn't very aggressive, just producing a few potato bulbs..A novelty for the grandchildren and no problem so far..


On Jun 21, 2006, Linnilu from Lakeland, FL wrote:

I have just spent a full day pulling/digging potatoes out of our St. Augustine lawn. Our neighbor's empty lot has been completely overrun by these terrible vines and have been encroaching on our property for a couple of years. We didn't mind, at first.

Before we realized what was happening (because we thought they were so pretty growing up the trees) our beautiful TALL tree line between the two lots has been completely eliminated. At first, we thought they had some type of disease or maybe a worm infection. Right before our eyes, THE VINES CHOKED THE LIFE RIGHT OUT OF THE CEDARS AND OAKS. Now I feel like I'm "on a mission" to rid our property of these.

Every weekend for the past two months I have pulled vines and potatoes, as well as spraying everything ... read more


On Mar 26, 2006, paleolith from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

This noxious invasive is probably the most frightening of the many invasives in my yard (in Tallahassee). If a neighbor planted it intentionally, I'd seriously consider suing. For those who think they can control it, think again -- all it takes is a kid grabbing a few of the tubers and throwing them around in the woods. This thing kills trees.

The back and side of my yard are attacked. Both neighbors dislike it, but both have even less time than I do to attack it. One lets me go into her yard to pull it, but the other owner rents the house to people who have dogs, and so far I cannot work on that source.

Please, do not even plant air potato in Ohio or other northern states. If one tuber falls in the storm sewer, it will end up in the river and could well sprou... read more


On Feb 26, 2006, digitalbeachbum from Longwood, FL wrote:

This "weed" is the most horrible thing I've dealt with and it reminds me of Kudzu (from the I-95 corridor). It has taken over the small wet land behind our house and has completely destroyed the Florida pine trees that are ten or twelve stories tall.

We had our first "air potato" roundup today and we gathered almost 500 lbs of potatoes. The largest sizes were larger than a softball and as small as a corn kernel.

Any person who thinks the Air Potato is a nice, pleasant, non-invasive plant should stop eating the potatoes because they are poisonous and obviously impaired your judgment.


On Oct 21, 2005, Taylored from Brenham, TX wrote:

I'm really glad to have seen all the comments on this plant. I got starts of this plant from a friend who has planted it everywhere on her property. I really like the vine, but after reading all of the comments I've seen here, I'm definately not going to plant it in my yard!

I really feel for her neighbors.


On May 22, 2005, growth_is_good from Liberty Hill, TX wrote:

I agree without maintenance this will become invasive. I am careful in placement and trimming of the "Aerial Potato" Dont plant under trees or bushes and harvest all the "potatoes" off the vine, before allowing them to the ground, and then replant them as you wish. It is a wonderful climber for lattice or fences. I was given a tuber "potato" from an experienced horticulturist in Lousiana, and now grow it in Central Texas. The huge hardy leaves are shade-full and tolerate heat well. Flowering is rare. As mentioned above, it will do well in baskets or large pots. ( In research found that in chinese-herbal medicine, the powder of the tuber is used for medicinal purposes. I myself wont try that!)


On May 18, 2005, jnana from South Florida, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

There are many non-invasive vines to choose from. This vine is almost impossible to eradicate once it takes hold. The parks in our area have volunteer drives several times a year to get rid of this pest. Even a miniscule piece of the tuber will sprout a new vine.

The Florida Dept. of Agriculture lists this vine as a noxious weed and it is listed as Category I of highly invasive plants by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.



On May 6, 2005, Buttoneer from Carlisle, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

We grow it as a houseplant in Pennsylvania. Ours stays under control as a hanging pot plant in the greenhouse and outside in the summer, going completely dormant in winter. I have never seen flowers on this vine, only the potatoes. I tried to help you Floridians out by bringing a "bagful" of them back to PA and I will be distributing them to our local Hobby Greenhouse Club. Sorry I couldn't bring a tractor trailer down to Fla to help you out but I only know how to drive a 4-speed.


On Mar 7, 2005, DawnRain from Bartow, FL wrote:

This is a very beautiful vine with beautiful emerald greed color and large heart shaped leaves. It has little tassels of white blooms with a very nice fragrance. With the novel addition of the potatos, it is a vine that would attract any gardener who has not experienced it.

All may seem well in the beginning, but the tiniest pea size potato is fully mature enough to generate a new plant. One that size somehow managed to get into my house. I left it alone to see how far it would go. With no soil to grow in and nothing but air to feed it, it made a 6ft vine before it died.

I hope that suggests how dangerous this invasive is. Especially if you live in Florida, you truly do not want it no matter how beautiful. Unfortunately, my beautiful pest arrived in a l... read more


On Mar 6, 2005, cetude from Winter Haven, FL wrote:

I think these are very pretty vines-I found one of these air potatos and put it in the ground and it grew into a very nice vine on my fence. Requires no care whatsoever. Invasive? I did not find it to be. The vine did not grow spectacularly large. In fact when I got tired of it-it was not hard to get rid of...but I planted it again. I found it to be very easy to manage.

And yes I live in florida. I like this plant.


On Jul 14, 2004, ripperpullen from Arlington, VA wrote:

Much like the North Carolina comment, I grow it on a Trellis in northern Virginia, close to Washington, and experience on positive reactions. Because it does not have time to produce mature tubers this far north, I purchase them from Texas each year.


On Jul 14, 2004, gardner_D from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

I wouldn't recommend growing Dioscorea bulbifera aka Air Potato Vine (and D. alata, aka Winged Yam) anywhere except maybe an enclosed courtyard or indoors. It is extremely invasive in southern states, and, once one vine has been allowed to mature, the air potato vine (and winged yam) is almost impossible to remove, or even control. Refer to Univ of Florida website for full details, including how to attempt to control it.


On Jul 8, 2004, crimsontsavo from Crossville, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Maybe this vine would be nice if grown as a houseplant instead of in the yard.


On Jun 16, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

This horrible plant was introduced to our area by a mainland transplant. She brought them over from where she lived previously and started giving them to people up stream from us ... she offered some to us and we refused it, telling her why and how invasive this plant was.

She ignored us and now our area is beginning to get covered with the vines after rains and little flash floods brought the potatoes down stream.

Our local tourist attraction - Akaka Falls State Park - is already getting covered with this pest and the natural tropical plants and flowers are being strangled.

When I lived in Florida, I battled this plant for years as my neighbor had planted one at the fence between our yards....Almost daily I had to go out and cut as much as ... read more

Update on July 15, 2004

One small addition and comment. With all the nice plants and vines on the "friendly lists" I can't understand why anyone persists in planting a noxious plant as this. It is beyond my comprehension. It might not grow to invasive proportions in your area, but someone who sees your vine and admires it might take a tuber and plant one in an area where it will take off.....

We are talking about a plant that can cause the same damage as kudzu vines already have. If you want a pretty vine, get a moonflower!


On Jun 15, 2004, broozersnooze from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Just looking at the pictures of this plant make me nauseous. This cursed thing grows so fast you don't even need a time-lapse camera to film it growing. I noticed a tendril coming up out of the ground next to my porch lattice. 45 minutes later it had already begun climbing & weaving into the lattice work.

I think it comes up from the roots as well as the "potatoes" because I cleared out all I could, put down weed block (black landscape fabric) & LOTS of mulch. This stuff is the ONLY thing that came back & IT GREW THROUGH THE WEED BLOCK! Everything I plant has to be in containers until I get rid of this cursed plant!


On Feb 12, 2004, pins2006 from Decatur, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I made the mistake of thinking the heart shaped leaves were cute and I let it grow after one volunteered in my yard. It almost killed my 5' azalea before I realized it had to go. Unfortunately the potatoes had already formed and went everywhere. I'm still battling it four years later. I'm in Atlanta.


On Nov 20, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

This plant is extremely invasive in Florida to the point that there have been group "clean-ups" of this plant from river bottom areas here in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, where people spend part of a weekend trying to remove this plant from natural areas it has invaded. I suspect in cooler climates it is much less invasive.


On Nov 20, 2003, Michaelp from Piney Flats, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

The plant with the smooth, baseball-sized tubers is the least useable (edible) of the Dioscorea species that grow wild in the southeast U.S. The tubers are very bitter and must be cut up and boiled in more than one water change; also, the main tuber does not get as big as the other wild varieties.

I have found that it is better to plant the one with the rough, looking exterior and irregular shape--these are good to eat baked or boiled, and I prefer them to potatoes. Also the vine is just as beautiful as the others (the difference is that the leaves of the edible one are a little longer and not so wide, and the size of the air potato tuber is a little less usually. Please note there are at least 3 different species described as "Air Potato",


On Nov 19, 2003, mrsmitty from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

AAAAAHHGRG!! Once you have them you can't get rid of them! I spray round up and it kills the vine but even a small brown potato as miniscule as a pea will start them back up again. My recommendation: catch them early and throw the potatoes into a container and dispose of them with the garbage. Don't let any of the potatoes touch soil.


On Oct 28, 2003, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Be aware this invasive exotic plant is listed as a Category I pest by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. It is almost impossible to get rid of once it has invaded an area.


On Aug 27, 2003, bfroberts from Mount Olive, NC wrote:

I am having a different experience with this vine. I'm in eastern North Carolina (U.S.), and I have this vine planted in a border on the back wall of the house. It is shaded by the house all day, and maybe that explains why mine never reaches gargantuan proportions. It grows on a six foot trellis, completely covering the trellis by summer's end, but it has never gotten out of hand.

The potatos will start to drop before much longer and I'll just store them until next year and give them away (those that I don't plant somewhere else). I love it. It has glossy, heart-shaped leaves and is very attractive against the plain ole vinyl siding of the back of the house. People always remark on how pretty this vine is. It will die back to the ground this winter, and around here so... read more


On Nov 28, 2002, FL_Gator from Dunnellon, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I do not grow this plant, but I have seen it in the local area. It is extremely invasive, and damages the natural ecosystem. Rainbow Springs State Park has been trying to eradicate this pest from the facility [once a commercial tourist trap] and progress is being made.


On Nov 11, 2002, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Dioscorea bulbifera is another non-native, invasive vine in Florida (U.S.) While some members of this family have edible tubers this one is said to be bitter and possibly poisonous.

A member of the yam family (Dioscoreaceae), the "Air Potato" produces large numbers of aerial tubers. These tubers are attached at the stem and look like potatoes. The plant drops tubers (at the faintest touch) and dies back each winter. In spring the tubers start to grow (as does EVERY potato that touches the ground) and the vines often reach 70 feet and more in a single season.

Propagation of this plant is strongly discouraged as it smothers out native vegetation.