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Species Profiles

Air Potato

Air potato - Invasive.orgScientific name: Dioscorea bulbifera L. (ITIS)

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

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Selected Resources

Native To: Asia and Africa (Overholt et al. 2003)

Date of U.S. Introduction: First observed in the U.S. in Alabama in the 1770s; first introduced to Florida in 1905 (Gucker 2009)

Means of Introduction: Originally cultivated as a possible food crop and ornamental in the 1800s (Miller et al. 2010)

Impact: Forms dense vines that smother native plants and trees (Overholt et al. 2008)

Current U.S. Distribution:



Selected Resources:

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Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) - Dioscorea bulbifera
USDA. FS. Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry.

Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States - Air-potato
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

The Quiet Invasion: A Guide to Invasive Species of the Galveston Bay Area - Air Potato
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Galveston Bay Estuary Program; Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).

Texas Invasives Database - Dioscorea bulbifera

Invasive Species Compendium - Dioscorea bulbifera
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Dioscorea bulbifera (herb, vine, climber)
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Federal Government

U.S. National Plant Germplasm System - Dioscorea bulbifera
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program.

Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) - Dioscorea spp.
USDA. FS. Rocky Mountain Research Station. Fire Sciences Laboratory.

PLANTS Database - Air Yam
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.

Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory - Dioscorea bulbifera
Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.

International Government

Weed Identification Tool - Aerial Yam
Brisbane City Council (Australia).


Air Potato in Florida (PDF | 113 KB)
University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
See also: IPM Florida - Invasive Plants for more publications

EDIS Topic - Air Potato
University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.
Electronic Data Information Source - publication resources

Plant Profile: Dioscorea bulbifera
University of Florida. IFAS. Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.

Sustainability and Conservation: Air Potato
University of Florida. IFAS Extension. Solutions for Your Life.


Gucker, C.L. 2009. Dioscorea spp. In: Fire Effects Information System. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.

Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Dioscorea bulbifera. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014].

Miller, J.H., E.B, Chambliss, and N.J. Loewenstein. 2010. Climbing Yams. In: A field guide for the identification of invasive plants in southern forests (PDF | 13.27 MB) (General Technical Report SRS-119). Asheville, NC: U.S. Forest Service, p. 63.

Overholt, W. A., C. Hughes, C. Wallace, and E. C. Morgan. 2003. Origin of air potato identified (PDF | 99 KB) Wildlands Weeds 7:9.

Overholt, W.A., K. Langeland, E.C. Morgan, J. Moll, and K. Gioeli. 2008. Air Potato in Florida (PDF | 113 KB) University of Florida, IFAS Extension.

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Last Modified: Jul 21, 2018
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