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Air yam (Dioscorea bulbifera)

Air yam Common Names: Air potato, bitter yam, air potato vine, air yam

Description: Introduced from Africa for food and medicinal properties in the early 1900s.

Habit: Herbaceous, twining vine that can reach lengths of 60 feet or more.

Leaves: Alternate, 8 inches long, broadly heart-shaped, prominent veins.

Stems: Rounded, thin, wiry.

Flowers: This plant rarely flowers. Inconspicuous, arising from leaf axils in panicles that are about 4 inches long.

Fruit and seeds: Aerial, potato-like tubers that grow at the leaf axils. Seeds are partially winged.

Habitat: Native to Asia. Can be found in forest edges and disturbed sites.

Reproduction: By potato-like tubers (bulbils).

Monitoring and rapid response: Cut vines, remove bulbils and remove any underground tubers. Burning is not recommended. Mowing may be effective but may also spread bulbils. Biological control using the air potato leaf beetle (Lilioceris cheni) has shown to be effective. Can be effectively controlled using any of several readily available general use herbicides such as glyphosate but will not work on bulbils.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants and the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Air yam

Scientific Name:

Dioscorea bulbifera







USDA Symbol: