Air Potato Plants Are Good For Nothing

air potato vine leaves

Come to find out, Florida is full of invasive species of animals and plants. One such plant is known as the “air potato”. The name fits because the “potatoes” hang from vines that can climb. Of course many fall to earth where they commence growing new vines to choke all other growth and trees in the vicinity.

They are not edible, and are good for nothing, as far as I know. I read that they were brought in as medicinal plants from Africa and Asia. Now they threaten Florida’s native plants.

Potato vines smothering vegetation
The empty lot next to my yard has many potato vines crawling all over the vegetation

Potato vines grow rampantly here in Florida and climb over all sorts of vegetation from shrubs to trees. They will pull branches to the ground and smother plants by blocking the sun and distorting growth.

potato vines
Vines growing over vegetation

Getting Rid of Potatoes

I live in a very large neighborhood but beside me is a rare, uncleared lot. One day it will be sold and a house will go in, but for now there is a lot of wild growth in this small area. Because potato vines are growing like mad over there, the potatoes fall into my yard.

Potatoes dropped along the edge of my yard
Potatoes at the edge of my yard

The potatoes can be large or tiny. They cover the ground and hang from the vines. If they sit on the ground long enough they will root and send out vines to climb whatever is nearby.

large air potato in Florida
Air potato, large size

As I was picking up the many potatoes around my yard, I wondered what was the best way to dispose of them. All I found was this information on A Guide to Air Potato which says to put them in a black plastic bag (I only had white) and let them deteriorate then throw them out with the regular trash – not lawn debris – pick up.

I let these bags of potatoes sit around for months but nothing happened. Finally I threw them in with the regular trash.

bags of air potatoes
I filled these bags with potatoes
Florida air potatoes
Potatoes and vine under roots of the Brazilian pepper tree

Potato vines are just one of many invasive plants that threaten Florida habitats. In the photo above many potatoes litter the ground beneath Brazilian Pepper tree roots. That is an invasive tree.

Yup, here in the jungle invasive species are flourishing and choking out the local nature. But they are not half as dangerous as the influx of people who keep clearing land and ruining the ecology.

Author: Pam

I grew up in New England but spent most of my life living in central Florida. Marine life interests me and I share that love here on my blog. I also sell customizable products which have a beachy vibe.

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