Air Potato Attack!

bulb (2)The invasive Air Potato Vines were tightly wrapped around my neighbors’ Areca Palm trees and were quickly migrating from their trees and palm fronds to my trees. I cut the vine-covered fronds that were hanging into my garden. Whenever possible I reached over or through the fence that separates my yard from the neighbors’ and tried to pull the vines out of the ground, roots and all, to eradicate them. Otherwise, I just cut as much as I could so they wouldn’t continue smothering the plants they were climbing on.  These vines will wind themselves around just about any plant or structure and end up completely covering them. They can grow to 70’ or more in length. As you can see in the picture, the roots of the vine grow from what looks like a potato but don’t eat it! It isn’t a potato and it’s toxic. Tubers grow on the vines and after dropping to the ground, begin to root and start new plants. The Air Potato Vine (Dioscorea Bulbifera) is native to tropical Asia but is highly invasive in Florida. It’s an aggressive foe that’s not easy to totally eliminate. Since my neighbors don’t seem to care that it is suffocating their trees, I’ll have to battle it from my side of the fence. Oh well, just another day of gardening…

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

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