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Dioscorea - edible versus toxic UPDATE - Polyganum!

 
                      
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Greetings!

I have a couple of volunteer Dioscorea (I am fairly sure*) growing in my garden.  I have two thoughts:

Wow!  An edible perennial freebie!
Wow! A potentially poisonous invasive!

Perennial Vegetables indicates there are poisonous species.  Since these are volunteers from who knows where, I want to proceed with caution.  I also have hopniss (Apios americana) growing nearby, and don't want competition.

Right now I am leaning toward snipping the one vine that came out of the soil (one in each of two places) while it is easy to deal with, and perhaps getting ahold of a known variety in the future.

Ideas?  Clues?  Resources?

*Update - embarrassment and relief - and I will carefully observe the veination in the future!  While so many descriptions seemed to match this vine, when I looked at it closely with a friend, I finally noticed the veins of Dioscorea are quite different than the veins of this plant, which turns out to be Polyganum scandens - a native vine, "false buckwheat.'  Shew.  No big decisions to be made.  I will let it wander around the deck railing without worrying about it.  It can get thick, but I am not concerned about it overtaking the yard.  It has wandered around the edges for several years now.  Thanks all who considered my query.

 
tel jetson
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I bought a few edible air potatos (Dioscorea bulbifera) a few years ago.  sadly, I accidentally killed them.  since then, the place I bought them from won't sell them anymore.

Dioscorea is an easy genus to identify by the leaves.

I believe that toxic yams and bulbils are very bitter.  probably not enough for a positive identification.

one method for detoxification (that I won't endorse because I haven't tried it) is to slice and pound the bulbils then boil them for a good long while.

where are you located, by the way?
 
                      
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I am east coast, Zone 6.

This is a bit of a quandary because I had considered having this plant a while back, and the thought of a high-energy perennial really appeals to me.  But I have seen invasive monocultures, and that is not at all what I want.

Later today I hope to have someone take some good closeup pics of the inflorescences.  Then I need to either let it grow the rest of the season, let it grow until it produces bulbils, or snip it and dig out the root while there is only one to deal with.

I am not afraid of vigorous growers, just cautious about them, especially non-natives.
 
                                
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D. villosa, the wild yam is a medicinal that grows in a lot of the eastern states. The roots are hard and knotty, and sold dry to the herb trade. The plant has a single stem that twines at the end and wraps around things. The lower leaves are in a whorl but higher up they alternate.
 
                            
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tel jetson wrote:
I bought a few edible air potatos (Dioscorea bulbifera) a few years ago.  sadly, I accidentally killed them.  since then, the place I bought them from won't sell them anymore.


Hi,
      I was wondering if the place you bought the edible air potatoes from is still selling them? I'm really interested in acquiring some tubers of this species - it's a really fascinating plant and I've been looking all over for them.

Thanks,
Adam
 
tel jetson
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redtitan wrote:
Hi,
      I was wondering if the place you bought the edible air potatoes from is still selling them? I'm really interested in acquiring some tubers of this species - it's a really fascinating plant and I've been looking all over for them.

Thanks,
Adam


they sure aren't still selling them, sadly.  last time I asked, they said something about it being illegal to sell them now.  could just be an issue of being illegal to ship them, so you might be able to stop by to get some air potatoes, but I doubt it.  I believe it was a place in Florida called The Banana Tree.  they do have a lot of other good stuff.
 
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