FLIP: Florida Invasive Plants

Dioscorea bulbifera

Common Name(s): Air potato, potato yam


Tropical Asia

Ecological Impact

A very aggressive vine that can quickly shade out native vegetation.  A single vine produces a large number of tubers which can increase the spread of this plant.


An herbaceous vine that stems to 66 feet or more in length. Aerial tubers, called bulbils, form in leaf axils. Bulbils are round with smooth surfaces resembling potatoes. Leaves are alternate and heart shaped with round basal lobes. In Florida, flowers are rarely seen. They are small and in spikes up to 4 inches long (Langeland and Burks, 1998).

Identification Tips

Look for heart-shaped leaves with smooth edges and small round tubers growing on vines that resemble potatoes. Air potato vines may be confused with another invasive, Dioscorea alata, or with the native wild yams Dioscorea floridana and Dioscorea villosa.


Introduced to Florida in 1905 as a USDA sample sent to Henry Nehrling of Orange County (Lakeland and Burks, 1998).

Florida Range

Found throughout the state of Florida.

Prevention/Management Strategies

Manually pick up tubers and discard with household waste. The Asian air potato leaf beetle has been introduced as a biological control; beetles may be requested from the Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services (north and central Florida), U.S. Department of Agriculture (south Florida) of the University of Florida Biological Control Research and Containment Laboratory (north and central Florida).


Most photos courtesy of the Atlas of Florida Plants; click for additional plant details.

Share Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Email
Florida Invasive Plants