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Air Potato

Dioscorea bulbifera also known as "the Long Yam"

Identifying Characteristics

  • Leaves are broadly cordate (heart shaped) and alternately arranged on stems
  • all leaf veins arise from the leaf base, unlike other herbaceous vines such as smilax and morning-glories
  • Flowers are inconspicuous, arising from leaf axils in
    panicles 4 inches long
  • herbaceous twining vine
  • 70 feet or more in length

Last Seen

The Air potato originated from Asia and sub-Saharan Africa

Suspected Hideouts

Air potatoes can now be found throughout Florida as well as in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.In 1905 it was introduced to Florida. 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 Florida’s most invasive plant species since .Air potato was added to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Noxious Weed List in 1999. Plants on this list may not be introduced, possessed, moved, or released without a permit. They can easily be found climbing along the trunk of trees in a humid environment with high temperatures.

Crimes Committed

  • Air potato can grow extremely quickly, roughly 8 inches per day. It typically climbs to the tops of trees and has a tendency to take over native plants
  • Forms dense vines on smother native plants and trees
  • spread beyond garden borders and is now wreaking havoc on wild lands by displacing native species

  • bitter and some are potentially poisonous

  • Air potato can even reach the tops of trees that are 60 or more feet tall. It blankets everything it grows on, and the plants beneath it starve for sunlight

  • it invades and harms pinelands and especially the biologically diverse hardwood hammocks


The elimination of the air potato would create more available land for gardeners considering the air potato reproduces rapidly and can hover over a 3 acre lot. An increase in native species would occur since the potato displaces a great majority of native species. The air potato is on the Florida noxious weed list for its incredible numbers in a given area so the removal of this invasive species would lead to the removal of the species on the list and would no longer be sought out as a threat to other plants and their availability to light to produce chloroplast and photosynthesis.

Air Potato.wmv