Here are 5 things you need to know about air potato: 1. Please complete the application for air potato leaf beetles for release on your property and learn about seasonal availability. Is a non-native, exotic plant (from tropical Asia, Africa) … Topping out to 9' to 12' in our experience. USDA Forest Service, Southern Region, National Forests in Florida, September 2000, Protection Report R8-PR 45. Air Potato – Invasive Plant Species Dioscorea bulbifera. It was riddled with holes (more on that later) which is a good thing since air potato is one of the worst exotic, invasive species in Florida. The likely culprit is the air potato, one of the worst plaguing Florida. R esearch and extension faculty with UF/IFAS have reached successful completion of the five-year Air Potato Biological Control Extension Program. We offer an Air Potato hardy enough to handle our Zone 5B winters but not nearly as mega aggressive as the southern Air Potato of infamous note. “The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will use all of the potatoes that we collect to rear air potato leaf beetles at their Gainesville biocontrol facility,” said Spencer. 2: University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Indian Rover Research and Education Center, Fort Pierce, FL. Air potato is an invasive plant species in Florida that should be removed from public and private properties to help protect the state's natural areas. Environmental Impact. Both the hanging “air potatoes” and the roots beneath the ground are edible. Plant experts believe that the first air potato plant introduced to America was sent to a botanist in Orlando, Florida, in 1905 to be considered as a desirable ornamental and possible food crop. “The beetles have been so successful at reducing the numbers of air potatoes in Gainesville that the department is having a … A biological control program to control the air potato vine has been ongoing for several years now, and a significant number of … The air potato, Dioscorea bulbifera, is the familiar story of an idea that seemed good at the the time but really was a nightmare waiting to happen. that involves scientists and researchers with the USDA and the State of Florida and of course you — citizens concerned about the effects of invasive species on our economy and environment.. Air potato, Dioscorea bulbifera, is an invasive, high-climbing vine capable of outcompeting native vegetation and displacing other organisms.It forms dense blankets that smother native trees and understory plant species. This is 'Batatas' not 'Bulbifera'. More... UF/IFAS Air Potato Extension Program Ends After 5 Yrs. As the tale is told, long about 1905, famed Florida naturalist Henry Nehrling got the notion that air potato might have potential as a food crop or ornamental plant, and sent samples to a government researcher in Orlando. This perennial, beautiful vine will emerge late spring and gently wind itself like a tropical snake up whatever it can climb. The Air Potato Patrol is a citizen science project. The common name for this invasive plant is the air potato or air potato vine. The edible air potato, or “winged yam,” does grow wild here and there in patches across Florida. 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