air potatoes

l_james(mo5)May 20, 2010

Does any one eat and like those air potatoes that grow on cinnamon vines. Mine are coming back after a relativly hard winter in zone 5, I'm guessing because the root goes so deep into the ground. - James

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farmerdilla

The air potato (heartvine)(Valentine vine) Dioscorea bulbifera is a weedy vine here that many folks grow as an ornamental. Never knew anyone that tried to to eat them. One of the alternate names is Bitter Yam. One source does state "In Africa the fat "potatoes" that grow on its vines high in the air are eaten after boiling to remove the poison." It is weedy and hard to eradicate in southern climates.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 7:56AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Eat them? No. Rip them out all the time? Yep.

Dave

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 8:42AM
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denninmi(8a)

I think we might be discussing 2 different plants. Cinnamon yam or Chinese Mountain Yam is Dioscorea batatas.

Yeah, I gather them up and use them every year as a form of plant birth control, otherwise I'd have hundreds of new ones growing. This plant does have invasive potential.

They're about the size of marbles. I just boil them whole and make them into a potato salad. Generally around Labor Day. They aren't bitter in the least, in fact, they are virtually identical to white potatoes except slightly less starchy.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 9:27AM
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organicislandfarmer(9)

some pics would be cool, never heard of this one. The problem would be if they get sun and turn green. Doesn't sound like thats happening.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 10:01AM
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farmerdilla

There are two different plants, same genus different species which are both Yam related. The one commonly called air potato has heart shaped leaves hence the alternate names Heartvine and Valentine Vine. I have never encountered Dioscorea batatas and know nothing about it. The air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera) get about the size of a chicken egg with a some a bit larger.

Here is a link that might be useful: Air Potato Photos

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 12:22PM
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denninmi(8a)

That's interesting about the "air potato" -- it must not grow this far north. On the Cinnamon vine/Chinese Mountain Yam, the largest the aerial propagation tubers get is about the size of a nickle, and most are smaller than that. But, it produces them by the hundreds to thousands.

I posted a link to google search results for Dioscorea batatas in case anyone is interested.

There are a couple of vendors that I know of selling this one. Raintree does, or at least did, because that's where mine came from about 10 years ago. Sand Mountain Herbs in Alabama carries it as well, I believe.

Here is a link that might be useful: Google search results on Cinnamon Vine

    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 12:29PM
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l_james(mo5)

I'm sorry. I didn't know that there were two similar plants.
I was refering to Discorea batas the Dr. Yao strain from One Green World.
The tuber grows straight down and is too much trouble to dig for what you get.
The plant does produce a lots of marble size air potatoes. I wanted to know if anyone collects these to eat.
This is the second year that it is coming back after going through a winter unprotected.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 12:55AM
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