An air potato from Amanda, SC

This is a vine that was growing pretty thickly on trees and shrubs in a forest near Greenville, South Carolina. The leaves are cordate with palmate veins. It also had some kind of prickly, pink-brown fruit growing from the stem (often where the leaves branched off)

Hi Amanda,

I am rather certain that this is the introduced plant Dioscorea bulbifera, the air potato.  It is spreading fast.  More information on this can be found here:   Note the comments on toxicity, please!  There are a few other species of Dioscorea in our area, but this looks like this non-native one that I have grown. The ‘fruits’ are actually bulbils, which can be planted to grow new plants – hence its spread.  Some consider it a noxious weed.



Dr. Steven R. Hill, Botanist, SCNPS


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