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Edible Air Potato (Dioscorea bulbifera) - Buy, Sell & Trade

 
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Halfway into bulbil season, and inspired by David's thread on TPS, I've decided to start a thread for buying, selling, trading and reviewing suppliers of Edible Air Potatoes. To paraphrase David, edible bulbiferas are hard to find.

I'm trying to acquire as many as I can, and I trade mine when there's surplus. They might be prohibited in some US states, but they're not Federally prohibited, and they're not prohibited in my neck of the woods (Puerto Rico).

Asian varieties (always rounded to varying degrees, but never angular) are generally considered superior in flavor and production to African strains (which are usually said have a touch of bitterness; they're always angular to varying degrees), but all are worth growing as far as I'm concerned.

Note: This thread is primarily focused on edible varieties of Dioscorea bulbifera. With that said, other edible bulbil-bearers, be they Dioscorea, Anredera or what have you, are also welcome. Let's get this show on the road!



Some of these vendors periodically go out and back in stock, so bookmark their pages if you're interested, and keep track during bulbil season (Fall & Winter, Northern Hemisphere).

"Hawaiian Tropical Plant Nursery, LLC" is offering an edible Dioscorea their page ambiguously refers to as either D. bulbifera or D. esculenta. I ordered it early in the year, after some trouble: I had to hash out the order by email because I didn't know when the seller would have it available, and when it was finally marked as available on the page, the cart button wouldn't work for me... So the order was finished by email. It arrived, and it grew and it produced... No esculenta here, a true bulbifera through and through! The anatomy confirms it. A strain of African descent, it may or may not be the same clone that GrowerJim refers to as "Hawaii" (I've tentatively named it "Hawaii 2"). My vines are going into dormancy, and I've not had the pleasure of tasting it... Only one bulbil this season (because it prematurely died back and resprouted after I traveled), and I sent it to a friend. I hope to taste it next year. Link here:

https://www.store.hawaiiantropicalplants.com/Dioscorea-sp-Air-Potato-55-inch-square-pot-1618.htm

Stephward Estate Nursery in South Africa has another African strain of edible bulbifera, but it's unlisted in their website. I found out from a helpful member of another forum, who told me to message them through Whatsapp to make the order. And I did! I've now had it for two years, growing it under the name "Sena" (as a near-acronymic reference to the nursery, because they didn't give me a varietal name — names are important, it helps to keep track of the varieties), but it has been frustratingly unproductive! One bulbil last year (didn't taste it, planted it and lost it), and it has yet to produce any this year, but the vines had a late start, and they're still in active growth, so there's hope yet. I'd like to think that my trouble with this cultivar has been due to the change in hemisphere... Maybe another year of acclimation will get it to churn out bulbils. You can find their mobile phone number to message them through Whatsapp on the bottom of their web page:

https://www.stephward.co.za

Etsy seller Babubotanicals sells both seeds and bulbils of a yellow-fleshed Indian strain they insist is edible. I'm getting some of this strain from a friend later this year (said friend has eaten them, and despite the statement in the original listing, they found them pleasant, not bitter).  Once I've found out its particular locality in India, I'll be able to give it a name. Also note that anything from the seeds should be a different variety, so unless it's near identical to the mother vine (a female vine), the name of the original clone shouldn't apply (though referring to it as a seedling of "X name" should be fine, as should derivative names). Link to their listing:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/644244780/dioscorea-bulbifera-with-both-bulbs-and?ga_search_query=Bulbifera&ref=shop_items_search_1

• Edit: I messaged the Etsy seller, who stated that their bulbifera strain comes from Odisha. Therefore, "Odisha Yellow" seems a suitable identifier for this variety, to distinguish it from the other yellow-fleshed Asian accessions, of which there are several which are broadly similar. •

On messaging them, Thai eBay vendors "thailandplant" and "GoodMice" have both confirmed their varieties as being edible (meanwhile, "smile-nature" is selling a toxic one as an ornamental only, so I won't be posting his listing). I recently received the one from "thailandplant" (christened "Nonthaburi Yellow", for locality & flesh color), and it's a beautiful dark bulbil, quite different from my other varieties (his photos don't do it justice, it looks a bit different). I can't wait to get a crop next year! It hasn't arrived yet, but I'm hoping the clone from "GoodMice" is a separate variety (it was described as having "knots" in the skin, which "Nonthaburi Yellow" doesn't have). For its locality & flesh, I'll name it "Mae-Sai Yellow", if it's different from the Nonthaburi clone. Links to their varieties here:

"thailandplant" (Nonthaburi Yellow): https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bulb-DIOSCOREA-BULBIFERA-Air-Potato-Yam-Herb-Plant-Phytosanitary-Certificate/401523014621

"GoodMice" (Mae-Sai Yellow): https://www.ebay.com/itm/3-Dioscorea-Bulbifera-Bulbs-Thai-Herb/182952108093

I bought an African strain from eBay vendor "buyexoticsseeds" from Mexico (thus, I've named it "Mexico"). When asked if their strain was the same grown in "Las Cañadas, Bosque de Niebla", they confirmed that it was. Photos from Las Cañadas' FaceBook show a much more rounded strain than usual, but in a disk-like fashion, not spherical; soft angles. I haven't planted my bulbils yet, but I will in the coming days. Link here:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/3-BULBOS-DIOSCOREA-BULBIFERA-PAPA-VOLADORA-DE-AIRE-NAME-GUISOS-HUERTO-VITAMINAS/123864323804

I bought another African strain from British-based Polish eBay vendor "lupinaster", and it's set to arrive next year. They refer to it as a 'Sativa' type, but I think they're just trying to say it's edible. Genuine 'Sativa' is a strictly Asian subspecies. The photos depict a clamshell-like bulbil that may be similar to "Hawaii", so I'll keep an eye out for any similarities between it, "Hawaii 2", and Jim's "Hawaii" (which I'll be receiving in the mail soon from a friend). Until I've confirmed its origins, I'm tentatively calling it "Pińczów". Link here:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vegetable-Air-Yam-Dioscorea-bulbifera-f-sativa-edible-1-large-tuber/223734238301



Those are the official online vendors I've found thus far. Meanwhile, I have my own 2 accessions sent to me by a friend in India, and I've named them with his initials: "CV-1" is a genuine "Sativa", and it matures into large, pale, smooth, thin-skinned bulbils with green-tinged flesh. "CV-2" seems to be a "Suavior" type, very bumpy, and said to be tastier than "CV-1" (I've not had the pleasure of tasting it, it died back with only one small bulbil in the same incident that set back my "Hawaii 2" vine — the small bulbil is sprouting now). So far, I've only tasted CV-1, and here's what I have to say: best picked very mature or very immature – my grandmother ate a large immature one and found it hard, while I've found fully mature ones to be as tender as any yam, and I popped a small one into my soup and found it tender as well. Best eaten fresh – I ate one the same day I plucked it, and it was great, more like potato than yam in flavor, while those that sat a week on the table already felt a bit off, while a month on the table had them feeling distasteful to me (enough to put me off a bit; bitter). The biggest bulbil I've had so far was a 1 pound beast. I'm not sure if cross-forum linking is against forum rules (be gentle with me), but you can find photos and an account of my experiences with this species in the following link:

http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=1e2776de619661331ad8a36dabcf00f3&topic=26151.0

I'm also gonna receive a few other edible varieties from some acquaintances, so check this space occasionally for further developments. And if you find any other sources for edible bulbiferas, please don't hesitate to add them!
 
Caesar Smith
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I forgot to add in my original post, but RarePalmSeeds advertises an alleged Dioscorea bulbifera. I bought it, and the bulbils sprouted soon after arrival. They were not bulbifera bulbils, the anatomy of the resulting vines was pure D. alata. Since it's a misidentified species, I won't be posting the link unless someone's interested in a bulbil-bearing alata.

Buyer beware on eBay, a lot of vendors are selling misidentified alatas, polystachyas and pentaphyllas as bulbiferas (as if toxic bulbiferas weren't enough). One of the top results claims to sell 25+ bulbs per order, with the quote: "Thai sellers sell these for 15$ for 3 seeds plus ship!"... The pictures very clearly depict polystachya (confirmed when they describe the bulbils as looking like mini Idaho Potatoes).

Do your homework on yam anatomy, and you'll be able to avoid buying misidentified air potatoes (if they post honest product photos), or at least you'll recognize when you've bought one when the vine sprouts.

A summary of Dioscorea yam anatomy, taken from another forum's post of mine:



When talking about leaves, I mean the leaves on the upper portion of mature vines. Leaves on the lowest portion, as well as on young vines, can sometimes develop in a different configuration (usually alternate on a vine that otherwise has paired leaves).

Vines that twist to the left (lower right to upper left: the "S" twist):
*D. bulbifera*
*D. pentaphylla*
D. esculenta
D. trifida
D. dumetorum

Vines that twist to the right (lower left to upper right: the "Z" twist):
*D. alata*
*D. polystachya*
D. rotundata & cayennensis
D. nummularia
D. transversa
D. japonica
D. hamiltonii

Paired Leaves:
*D. alata*
*D. polystachya*
D. rotundata & cayennensis
D. nummularia
D. japonica
D. hamiltonii

Alternate Leaves:
*D. bulbifera*
*D. pentaphylla*
D. esculenta
D. trifida
D. transversa
D. dumetorum

Pentaphylla leaves are divided into 5 leaflets, dumetorum into 3, the rest are singular. Trifida leaves are somewhat palmate, and other than the rounded leaflets of pentaphylla and dumetorum, the rest are heart-shaped (with varying ratios of length-breadth and varying degrees of rounded to angular corners). Bulbifera leaves tend to be broad, alata leaves a bit more narrow and often angular, and polystachya leaves narrow & heart lance-shaped.

Trifida, alata and hamiltonii stems have ridges/wings (which can be substituted by corresponding ridges of spines in some varieties of alata). Rotundata, cayennensis, esculenta, pentaphylla and dumetorum stems tend to be spined or prickly to varying degrees; the rest are smooth (though some species, like nummularia, can have prickles at the base). Bulbifera and nummularia have thick round stems in mature vines (bulbifera's being fluted), polystachya has a square stem (thin, even at full maturity). Dumetorum is highly pubescent/fuzzy.

Bulbifera bulbils range from round to heart-shaped (like the organ) in Asian types, irregular & angular in African types, and can grow to a large size, though small ones are also produced. Polystachya and japonica bulbils can be round or oval, and are always very small. Alata bulbils are ovoid to long & irregular (but not angular), and are small to medium sized. Pentaphylla bulbils are small to medium sized and ovoid to horseshoe shaped, and dumetorum bulbils (probably toxic) are spiny. I'm not sure how transversa bulbils are, but only some varieties produce them. The rest don't usually produce bulbils. Bulbifera is a reliable producer of bulbils, whereas not all varieties of alata produce bulbils, and those that do aren't usually as productive as bulbifera.

Those are the main distinctions, but there's always variation among the species listed, never mind those that I didn't get to list, which should have further differences.



For more information on Dioscoreas, I'll post the links to "Tropical Yams And Their Potential", volumes 1-6:

1. Dioscorea esculenta - https://naldc-legacy.nal.usda.gov/naldc/download.xhtml?id=CAT87208469&content=PDF

2. Dioscorea bulbifera - https://naldc-legacy.nal.usda.gov/naldc/download.xhtml?id=CAT87208471&content=PDF

3. Dioscorea alata - https://naldc-legacy.nal.usda.gov/naldc/download.xhtml?id=CAT87208472&content=PDF

4. Dioscorea rotundata & cayennensis - https://naldc-legacy.nal.usda.gov/naldc/download.xhtml?id=CAT87209454&content=PDF

5. Dioscorea trifida - https://naldc-legacy.nal.usda.gov/naldc/download.xhtml?id=CAT87208470&content=PDF

6. Minor Cultivated Dioscoreas - https://naldc-legacy.nal.usda.gov/naldc/download.xhtml?id=CAT87209435&content=PDF
 
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any further info on different varieties? are any more hardy/productive/tasty than others?
 
Caesar Smith
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C. West wrote:any further info on different varieties? are any more hardy/productive/tasty than others?



I suspect the Asian types may be hardier than the African types, but that's mostly speculation on my part. According to Toensmeier's book on Perennial Vegetables, they should be outdoor hardy as perennials to zone 7.

I've only tasted CV-1 (a "Sativa") so far, so I can only give second-hand accounts on the flavor of other types. Thin-skinned types can be eaten unpeeled, but this may increase the bitterness in the bite with some varieties. African types are said to have a degree of bitterness, subtle enough to get used to quickly, but perhaps not everyone's cup of tea; they're also said to be firmer in texture. The best of the lot in terms of production and flavor are said to come from Asian stock, but there is variation, and even amongst edible stock, there are inferior Asian bulbiferas. In the document on bulbiferas, a clone of subspecies "Sativa" was found to be the highest yielding.



I purchased another one from eBay vendor kero-ppi, who, on being asked, claimed "Can be made as food, but is not popular to eat this type. Most will be used to make medicine more". Good enough for me. If it's yellow, as I suspect, I'll call it "Chiang-Saen Yellow". If it's the same as "Mae-Sai Yellow", I may have to rename both as "Chiang-Rai Yellow" as this is the greater region to which both localities belong. I'm hoping it's different though, and even if similar, I suspect they're probably different clones. Link here:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/3-Bulb-Dioscorea-Bulbifera-Bulbilbearing-yam-Thai-Herbs/322929051908

I also found a Brazilian website that sells one or several bulbifera strains, but they're not currently in stock, and I have my doubts on whether they ship overseas. I may try at a later date, but for now, I'll leave that one on the backburner. Link:

http://www.thjardins.com.br/php/shopping_produtos_detalhe.php?produto=349



I have a bunch of bulbils from my CV-1 vine, if anyone's interested. I've been told they're dead ringers for some of the wild types found in Florida, but rest assured they are edible... I've eaten them in quantity with my family, at various stages of pre-and-post-harvest maturity, with and without the skin, and we've never been poisoned. I received the original bulbils straight from India, from a man who grows them as food, so I had no problem trying them out the first time.

They're a bit on the smaller size this year, probably because I was neglectful with the water and didn't even fertilize. Last year's bulbils reached a 1 lb maximum, with many being bigger than the average apple.

PM me for details. If you have something interesting to trade, let me know.
image.jpeg
Currently available bulbils, with a US Quarter Dollar and a 16.9 oz (500 ml) water bottle for scale.
Currently available bulbils, with a US Quarter Dollar and a 16.9 oz (500 ml) water bottle for scale.
 
C. West
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all those bulbs in the pic are from the cv-1 variety? how do they taste? im in zone 5 so the only ones that i could do are the chinese and japanese species, but in the future i want to try some in an unheated greenhouse with planter boxes giving two levels of protection. im a year or more away from experimenting, but am interested in how your varieties turn out, keep updating this thread if you can with comparisons and i would def buy som from you in the future (if i can get them in canada).
 
Caesar Smith
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C. West wrote:all those bulbs in the pic are from the cv-1 variety? how do they taste? im in zone 5 so the only ones that i could do are the chinese and japanese species, but in the future i want to try some in an unheated greenhouse with planter boxes giving two levels of protection. im a year or more away from experimenting, but am interested in how your varieties turn out, keep updating this thread if you can with comparisons and i would def buy som from you in the future (if i can get them in canada).



Yep, all from the CV-1 vines. They're good when fresh, and a bit more like potato than yam in flavor. Leave 'em out for too long post-harvest, and you'll start to detect bitter tones when cooked. For those who haven't checked my other forum's post, I'll post a few pics from my past harvests here.

I can try sending to Canada when you're ready. I'm not sure if they'd be allowed in or if Customs would be an issue, but if you're willing to try, I'm willing.
image.jpeg
My first bulbil.
My first bulbil.
image.jpeg
Snail damage!
Snail damage!
image.jpeg
Freshly peeled.
Freshly peeled.
image.jpeg
Halved.
Halved.
image.jpeg
Cooked.
Cooked.
image.jpeg
Mashed & buttered!
Mashed & buttered!
image.jpeg
Last year's vine.
Last year's vine.
image.jpeg
Bulbifera & Rotundata.
Bulbifera & Rotundata.
image.jpeg
The Big Boy...
The Big Boy...
image.jpeg
... 1lb.!
... 1lb.!
image.jpeg
First bulbil of last year's season.
First bulbil of last year's season.
image.jpeg
Last year's harvest.
Last year's harvest.
image.jpeg
The big boy, peeled.
The big boy, peeled.
 
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That's impressive, for sure. I'm growing whatever Dioscorea I can, and only the chinese one survives and gives small bulbils (and long roots).
The supposedly bulbifera I tried never gave me any aerial bulbil, and died when in storage.
Yours is a cultivar I would love to try if I was not on the wrong side of the pond.
 
Caesar Smith
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André Troylilas wrote:That's impressive, for sure. I'm growing whatever Dioscorea I can, and only the chinese one survives and gives small bulbils (and long roots).
The supposedly bulbifera I tried never gave me any aerial bulbil, and died when in storage.
Yours is a cultivar I would love to try if I was not on the wrong side of the pond.



What's your location? I've sent CV-1 to Italy, and to Portugal (where I've also sent other tubers, including "Hawaii 2"/"Steve's Hawaii"). Haven't had any fuss during the process.

Also... ¿Source for your previous bulbifera? Is it still available anywhere? What kind was it?
 
André Troylilas
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I live in the North of France. The ones that never fail me are Dioscorea batatas and opposita.
The batatas was obtained from a french producer and from edulis, and the opposita from various sources, mostly from China.
The supposedly bulbifera I bought was from Uncle Chan garden, in Thaïland.
It's not available for the time being, but it will come back I guess, depends of the time of the year. I also bought from him and lost Dioscorea pseudo-tomentosa, Dioscorea filiformis
For the time being, he has Dioscorea esculenta. I grew this one, it withstood -7°C, but died last summer of drought.
I have Dioscorea alata and Dioscorea hamiltonii seeds.
I had bought Ichoïmo, but I lost track of them, they must be in the opposita/batatas mix I have.
 
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I don't have a safe place to grow them right now, but I'd really like some in the future when my greenhouse is set up. There are actually several plant-breeding projects I've been hoping to do with air potatoes.

I'm in Wisconsin. I have no idea what would be involved in shipping them here, but I guess I have time to find out.
 
Caesar Smith
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André Troylilas wrote:I live in the North of France. The ones that never fail me are Dioscorea batatas and opposita.
The batatas was obtained from a french producer and from edulis, and the opposita from various sources, mostly from China.
The supposedly bulbifera I bought was from Uncle Chan garden, in Thaïland.
It's not available for the time being, but it will come back I guess, depends of the time of the year. I also bought from him and lost Dioscorea pseudo-tomentosa, Dioscorea filiformis
For the time being, he has Dioscorea esculenta. I grew this one, it withstood -7°C, but died last summer of drought.
I have Dioscorea alata and Dioscorea hamiltonii seeds.
I had bought Ichoïmo, but I lost track of them, they must be in the opposita/batatas mix I have.



I'm not sure if Customs would be an issue, but I think I can ship to France. The shipping to there might be a touch expensive though. The cheapest I've sent to Portugal was about US$15 in shipping.

D. batatas & D. opposita are actually the same species, currently classified as D. polystachya; you probably have different varieties on hand. D. japonica is pretty similar, but a distinct species. I think Nagaimo's root is supposed to be a bit more compact than standard polystachyas. I got mine from Fair Dinkum Seeds, and it definitely seems more club-shaped than some of the polystachya roots I've seen online.

Was Uncle Chan's bulbifera bumpy, pockmarked or smooth? Nonthaburi Yellow is pockmarked (not very visible in the eBay pictures, I'll post one at the end). Mae-sai Yellow is said to be bumpy by the vendor, it hasn't arrived for me yet.

I bought D. pseudo-tomentosa from him as well, and killed it with poor planting (heavy soil, exceedingly moist). I've been waiting for him to repost it ever since.

If that picture of "D. esculenta" is true to the product he's selling, then that's not an esculenta, it's a D. alata. True esculenta doesn't have those fringes or "wings" on its stem. I'm growing esculenta right now, and it's just like the description in TYATP, with potato-like clusters of tubers.


Ellendra Nauriel wrote:I don't have a safe place to grow them right now, but I'd really like some in the future when my greenhouse is set up. There are actually several plant-breeding projects I've been hoping to do with air potatoes.

I'm in Wisconsin. I have no idea what would be involved in shipping them here, but I guess I have time to find out.



Shipping to Wisconsin should be pretty simple. I've shipped stuff to Florida, Arizona & Texas, not much different from local shipping.

Breeding should be an interesting matter. There are differing ploidy levels in the different bulbifera populations, never mind the dioecy. But if bulbifera can be crossed with rotundata (admittedly with embryo rescue), then crossing the different bulbiferas should be much simpler. Personally, I think the idea of both Traditional and Somatic Hybrids with D. polystachya holds promise.

image.jpeg
Nonthaburi Yellow, a pockmarked phenotype.
Nonthaburi Yellow, a pockmarked phenotype.
 
André Troylilas
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Caesar Smith wrote:I'm not sure if Customs would be an issue, but I think I can ship to France. The shipping to there might be a touch expensive though. The cheapest I've sent to Portugal was about US$15 in shipping.


I have not yet understood what works and what does not work with customs. I'd like to try my luck with your Dioscorea if you don't mind.

Caesar Smith wrote:Was Uncle Chan's bulbifera bumpy, pockmarked or smooth? Nonthaburi Yellow is pockmarked (not very visible in the eBay pictures, I'll post one at the end). Mae-sai Yellow is said to be bumpy by the vendor, it hasn't arrived for me yet.


It was pockmarked, but not as much as yours.


Thanks.
 
Caesar Smith
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André Troylilas wrote:
I have not yet understood what works and what does not work with customs. I'd like to try my luck with your Dioscorea if you don't mind.



All right then. I'll set aside a few bulbils. PM me whenever you're ready.
 
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I'm interested in a few bulbils.
 
Caesar Smith
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Aj Hans wrote:I'm interested in a few bulbils.



Where are you located? I'll set some aside for you. PM me when you're ready.
 
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Caesar, I am very interested in growing Dioscorea bulbifera. Started growing D. polystachia last year from some areal bulbs a friend gave me. After reading eric toensmeir's book I am extremely excited about the size of the arial bulbs of D. bulbifera! I encountered the same problem you did trying to find a reputable supplier online for a non toxic cultivated variety. I would be extremely grateful if you would be willing to share some of your edible varieties and happy to pay for your trouble.
 
Caesar Smith
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PM answered!

Also, I should note that bulbil-bearing yams (bulbifera included) don't usually reach peak production until at least their second year. The image captioned "My first bulbil" was the biggest one I had the first year. The rest were all smaller bulbils. There's always small bulbils, but as vines mature through the years, they should consistently bear bigger ones as well.

The image of last year's harvest (which included the big boy) was from vines in their second year, fertilized and watered. My contact in India harvested a 2 pound monster from his CV-1.

So in conclusion, keep 'em fed, keep 'em watered, and you'll consistently get bigger bulbils from the second year onward.



Mae-sai Yellow just arrived, very different from Nonthaburi Yellow. Seems like subspecies "Suavior". Looks a lot like CV-2, though paler, with bigger lenticels (and CV-2 had weird lenticels where they were raised and bumpy, but sunken in the middle, different from the pockmarked strains).

image.jpeg
Mae-sai Yellow
Mae-sai Yellow
image.jpeg
CV-2
CV-2
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The lost bulbil, last year's Sena harvest.
The lost bulbil, last year's Sena harvest.
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CV-1 & Hawaii 2 (Steve's Hawaii)
CV-1 & Hawaii 2 (Steve's Hawaii)
 
Sage Williams
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Very cool to see all the different variations and expressions! I am interested to hear which varieties store the best. (I read what you said about stored CV-1 being less palatable). Thanks for sharing the results and progress of all your hard research and trials!
 
Caesar Smith
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The trials are just getting started! I'd like to compare size, yields, pest resistance, flavor, breeding compatibility... The breeding possibilities are endless! And I'll try to cross them to polystachya if I get the chance. The only thing missing is a decent plot of land. Not much space to grow giant vines in a suburban backyard. I'll be looking at land soon, to see if I can get a proper farm started.

And regarding pests, it seems several insects like to chew on the leaves. The pests always come out at night (the vines are full of them at midnight). Cockroaches and crickets chew on the leaves, and snails eat the bulbils. I like to hunt snails at night, when they're out and about. The beer traps don't work well for me.
 
Sage Williams
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Caesar Smith wrote:The breeding possibilities are endless! And I'll try to cross them to polystachya if I get the chance.



Sounds like a lot of fun and worthwhile! I wish you luck finding the land you are looking for. Meantime it looks like you are accomplishing a lot with the space you have :)
 
garden master
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Caesar Smith wrote:The breeding possibilities are endless! And I'll try to cross them to polystachya if I get the chance. The only thing missing is a decent plot of land. Not much space to grow giant vines in a suburban backyard. I'll be looking at land soon, to see if I can get a proper farm started.
.


Caesar, if you're interested PM and I'll send you contact info for someone I know who is also very interested in this sort of breeding work.
 
Caesar Smith
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Greg Martin wrote:Caesar, if you're interested PM and I'll send you contact info for someone I know who is also very interested in this sort of breeding work.



PM sent!



eBay vendor kero-ppi has a second "bulbifera" listing besides the one I posted. Marketed as an edible type, when I asked about the physical traits, he sent me several photos of his vines, which turned out to be pentaphylla (like the photos on the actual listing). Make sure when buying from him that you have the right variety.



I've started packaging and sending out bulbils. And I have one request for everyone receiving my bulbils... Share them! Once they've started bearing, gift them, sell them, eBay them, pass 'em forward however you please. Let's make it so it's not so rare and hard to find anymore. Just make sure to keep track of the names... It'd be unfortunate if I went out of my way to obtain a "new" variety that I already have, further down the road.

And for the record, CV-1 is usually dormant until about May - July. Production for me starts around October, and ends around February.



My package from my friend arrived today. Quite the haul! D. bulbifera "Odisha Yellow" and "Africa". 4 varieties of D. polystachya... I already had "Nagaimo" (which has long tubers), now I received "Ichoimo" (which has fan/ginkgo leaf-shaped tubers), "Chiba Tsukeneimo" (which has globular tubers and is a very shy bulbil-bearer), "Chiba Large" (which has branched tubers), and "Little-big" (a home-grown seed-based accession). I also received seeds of Phaseolus polystachios and P. x lunastachios (I'm not sure if that's the formal name, I just know it's originally from Colombia, a perennial hybrid of the P. polystachios with P. lunatus).



My varietal count of D. bulbifera so far:

Bearing:
CV-1

Growing:
Sena

Dormant:
Steve's Hawaii
CV-2

Not yet arrived through the mail:
Chiang-saen Yellow
Pínczów

Bulbils (planted or in storage):
Mexico
Jim's Hawaii
Afrokorea (tentative name)
Tefoe Purple
Tefoe Yellow
Nonthaburi Yellow
Mae-sai Yellow
Odisha Yellow
Africa

Total so far: 15 varieties... And counting. This'll be a very interesting year indeed.
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The package.
The package.
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Different varieties of edible Air Potato.
Different varieties of edible Air Potato.
 
C. West
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it will be interesting to see what you find regarding yield and flavor, i would also be very interested in if some are more cold hardy as well
 
Caesar Smith
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C. West wrote:it will be interesting to see what you find regarding yield and flavor, i would also be very interested in if some are more cold hardy as well



For cold-hardiness, we'll have to wait on reports from the other growers, as PR never gets too cold, even in the high mountains.

As for flavor, I'm going to have to rely on it to distinguish (or conflate) two varieties... Chiang-saen just arrived, from eBay vendor Kero-ppi. I looked at both side-by-side, and could not find a single distinguishing feature between it and Mae-sai Yellow. I'll mark them separately for now with both names as tentative labels, but if I find no differences in flavor when I taste them at harvest time, I will be treating them as a single variety. If that were the case, then I wonder whether to keep the name of the one I named first (Mae-sai Yellow), or instead give them the regional name of the greater area where both cities are located (Chiang-rai Yellow).
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Spot the difference... ¿Which is Chiang-saen and which is Mae-sai?
Spot the difference... ¿Which is Chiang-saen and which is Mae-sai?
 
Caesar Smith
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I re-checked the package they came in. I probably should've done that from the start, but the obvious eludes me on occasion. Same package, same message, same person, same origin: "Mae-sai". So Kero-ppi might be an alternate account or a colaborator with GoodMice. The account is based in Chiang-saen, but the package came from Mae-sai, like the last bulbils. Thus ends the mystery, they are one and the same. I'll keep the original name, "Mae-sai", as that seems to be the place they all came from. I'm a bit bummed out that I spent extra cash on something I already had, but at least I gathered something of equal value: knowledge.

So in conclusion, buy from either source. The bulbifera you get from GoodMice or Kero-ppi on eBay are the same.
 
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