air potato

[English] plural air potatoes

The air potato is a variety of yam, native to Africa and Asia, which grows several bulbils about the size of a large thumb above the ground. The glossy green leaves are attractive but the vine’s intrusive nature has placed it very near the top of Florida’s Invasive Plant list. Like kudzu, air potato has a large starchy root. The underground tubers of Dioscorea species are like small, oblong potatoes, and they are edible and cultivated as a food crop, especially in West Africa. where they are important commodities. It is one of the most widely consumed varieties of yam. Uncultivated forms (notably in Florida) however are reported to be bitter and even poisonous so should not be consumed.

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