I want to introduce to you an evasive plant which is a noxious, herbaceous, twining, branching, vine with 8″ + heart shaped leaves that can attain heights of 60′ or more. It can climb over, smother and displace both native and ornamental vegetation. If that’s not enough, it also produces numerous aerial tubers from which new plants develop, making it extremely difficult to control. This pest is called the dreaded air potato or Dioscorea bulbifere. It is believed to have been introduced into Florida in 1905 and has been growing rapidly ever since.
Because we have received numerous queries at the Volusia County Master Gardner Plant Clinic, I thought it best to bring this plant to your attention. You can learn more about it from IFAS publication SS AGR-164. Click here
There is however an air potato leaf feeding beetle called Liliocerus cheni which could be a possible biological control. IFAS publication EENY-547 can tell you more about this. Click here
If you think you may want to acquire some of these insects to control your air potato growth, they can be requested from Dr. Eric Rohrig at firstname.lastname@example.org.