Dioscorea bulbifera (DIOSCOREACEAE) Aerial Yam, Air Potato

Weeds to Whack

Introduced throughout the world as a food plant from East Africa despite the fact that wild varieties are toxic and sometimes fatal. A new weed to the Enoggera catchment. The tubers are globose or pear-shaped, sometimes lobed. Stems twine to the left (sinistrorse).
Photo: Robert Whyte


Leaves deeply cordate 5-30 cm long and about about as wide, 5-veined, lower surface duller than upper. Fragrant male flowers pinkish or whitish. Female flowers (also fragrant) on pendant axilliary inflorescences. Fruit is a winged capsule rounded at both ends.
Photo: Mark Crocker


An invasive vine in Florida, the Air Potato produces large numbers of aerial tubers. Tubers drop easily and the vine dies back each winter. All the dropped tubers will grow and the vine can reach 20 m in a season. Restricted to a small section of Riaweena Street The Gap for the moment (early 2007). Does not seem to be spreading too rapidly.

Photo: Craig W