Hi, This is probably a long shot, but does anyone have air potato tubers or know of sources for them? This species is Dioscorea bulbifera (Japanese Mountain yam is different - that's D. batatas. It forms bulbils too, but they're pretty small in comparison). There are two main varieties, an African variety which is less productive and needs to be detoxified before consuming, and an Asian variety which doesn't require detoxifying. I'm looking for tubers of the Asian variety if anyone has them. All I've found so far is tubers from Florida, where it's a horribly invasive plant (about as bad as kudzu there), but all those have toxic tubers.
Here's something I told someone on another site about the same topic:
"Wow! I've never heard of anyone eating Dioscorea bulbifera bulbils raw. Through my research I haven't noticed consistent information about this plant. Some say it's edible others say it's poisonous, and yet another source claims that what we call D. bulbifera is actually 26 different species. So what do you mean yours is "batatas"? That's spanish for sweet potato. I'll have to try some of mine. I hope they grow better. I think it's the humidity that they need. Look at where they are invasive: Florida. It gets hot in Florida too. So heat definitely isn't the limiting factor.
The bulbils in your picture look a lot like the ones I received too. For some reason there's no history on ebay, but I know I received some from a seller with this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Is that the same person?"
Apparently banana-tree.com *used* to sell the edible variety. They no longer sell it because it is not legal to do so. (the law makes no differentiation between the edible kind of d. bulbifera and the toxic kind) So, my point is, there *must* be people out there who have purchased this variety as a food source, and knowing it's prolificness are presumably still growing it, but it's probably somewhat of an "underground" vegetable. I've been looking for years for a source of the bulbils, but to no avail. There are at least two kinds of bulbifera that grow where I live, in Orlando...one with light grey bulbils and one with dark grey. Both of them resemble the look of the asian varieties, (more round, less angular than the African). Both, so I've heard, are toxic. However, I've witnessed someone eating a whole bulbil raw, to no ill effects. He says he does this occasionally, mostly to show off. It is my suspicion that the wild type around florida are descendants of asian varieties that were once used as food. However, I have seen them in flower, so who knows what kind of quick rewilding is going on with their genes since their initial introduction. If you ever do find a source for a non-toxic edible cultivar, please let me know. They at the top of my list of species that I am looking to get a hold of.
Bumping this thread just in case someone growing this happened to miss it the first time around. I have been looking for this for a very long time. It is very frustrating that the one place that sold this plant no longer sells it. Someone please start distributing the edible air potato!
I got two tiny tubers from a French supplier in the ebay but both tubers rot down. I did not know if they were edible type.
Anyone knows a supplier for air potato?
in Portugal, sheltered terraces facing eastwards, high water table, uphill original forest of pines, oaks and chestnuts. 2000m2
in Iceland: converted flat lawn, compacted poor soil, cold, windy, humid climate, cold, short summer. 50m2
Just bought edible air potato bulbils from email@example.com in Germany. Not arrived yet. Flat international shipping rate. I am in Malta (hot european island off coast of Africa). and plan to grow initially in pot on the roof as a shade canopy with bonus food crop. www.rareplants.de is the url
posted 6 years ago
I am also interested in acquiring one or more edible varieties of this species but live in the US on the Delmarva Peninsula. The German supplier whose url is listed a few posts above does not ship to the US or Australia. I've seen an expired ebay auction in the US for air potato and the Georgia Vines store whose url is listed above is still out.
Anyone know where to get this in the US? (Or knows somebody who knows somebody . . .)
posted 6 years ago
Eric Toensmeier (who has a profile of this plant in his book) writes more about the Air Potato in this permies thread: Air Potato
No that is correct they are not they are Dioscorea opposita, same genus, same form, same function and you can get them. They have wonderful large roots and small aerial tubers. I would call them in general a higher quality food than D. bulbifera though I would love to get some of those too.
Here is my concern with bulbifera. I am only seeing them being sold on eBay and not from people stating whether or not they are edible. Some are, some are highly toxic. Right now I would only get them from someone who you know knows that the hell they are doing.