I get asked regularly about “edible air potatoes” since I’ve mentioned finding and eating them – so here is my edible air potato ID, in photos!
The edible air potato, or “winged yam,” does grow wild here and there in patches across Florida. Both the hanging “air potatoes” and the roots beneath the ground are edible.
The confusion over which ones are edible and which ones aren’t results from the fact that we have two main “air potatoes” growing wind in the state of Florida: one potential toxic and one that’s safe.
This is where Latin names really come in handy.
The edible type is called Dioscorea alata.
NOTE: You can find these guys on ebay – including the rare purple version – if you can’t find them in the wild!
The generally non-edible variety is Dioscorea bulbifera. (I say “generally non-edible” because there are in fact wonderfully productive and safe cultivars of D. bulbifera – you’ll just have a hard time finding them in the wild and consuming them safely without a laboratory)
There’s a different look to the leaves, but the dead giveaway is the bulbils that form in late summer and fall. D. alata bulbils look like this:
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"Land of the free"? But, you can't sell D. alata because it's an invasive food. Go figure. Maybe they'll change their minds when food prices are so high, people will need the "invasive" foods that grow wild : ) Enjoy yours!
Yeah. It's silly.
Corn and wheat are way more invasive and are responsible for the destruction of natural land and peoples health.
I like the way you think, John. +1!
When I google Dioscorea alata I keep pulling up a purple yam. Are the bulbils or root purple when you cut into them?
Good question. Some varieties, yes. Generally cultivated types. However, there are also while, yellow and pinkish types, along with those that have a bit of purple in them. I have grown multiple different types. I’ve never found a purple one in the wild, though.
wat about those with thorns inside? are they edible?
I’d like to send u ice and a video of some wild air potatoes I found in reddick Florida.
Sure – send me pictures. I am email@example.com
Pictures I meant. Sorry auto correct.
Also I cut into one and they r yellowish orangish and kinda slimy inside like a yam or yucca. Is this correct for the edible ones? They aren’t very pretty either! Lol. They r growing totally wild out here in Reddick. I love potatoes al kinds. I’m not fond of yams though. But yucca and any other potatoe I absolutely love. Please advise and send tips on how to cook them! Thanks
Yes, that’s right. Yellowish and slimy. The slime goes away when they are cooked.
Watch where you stepi! Age80+ and stepped on a largeone
Damage as i flew into theair
crashed herniating _L4_5
They are the perfect shape and size to make you slip! I hope you are okay.