See those strange-looking root things? Those are the aerial bulbils of an edible cultivar of Dioscorea bulbifera growing at an experimental research facility in Florida.
Dioscorea bulbifera is the dreaded invasive “air potato,” and cousin of the winged yam.
Basically, this is a plant that makes edible aerial roots that you can pluck right off the vine and take to the kitchen. The plants are prolific producers of bulbils, yielding buckets of them in a season. Unfortunately, some of the wild forms of this air potato contain toxins that make them inedible, so you have to get a cultivated version to grow them… and those are hard to find, thanks to them being illegal for nurseries to grow.
Unfortunately, if you’re not a nursery owner and you’re growing them despite the restrictions, you’re about to get pwned by the government.
Check this out:
The native range of air potato includes much of Asia and Africa, and recent molecular evidence suggests that air potato in Florida originated from China (Croxton et al. 2011). Air potato was introduced to Florida in 1905 when it was sent to the USDA by Henry Nehrling, who later noted its invasive potential (Morton 1976). It has since become extremely aggressive (Hammer 1998). By the 1980s, air potato vines were growing in thickets, waste areas, and hedges or fencerows in many parts of south and central Florida (Bell and Taylor 1982). By 1999, air potato was recognized as an invasive exotic that alters plant communities by displacing native species, changing community structure, and disrupting ecological functions (FLEPPC 2003). A leaf feeding beetle, Lilioceris cheni, was recently introduced into Florida from China for biological control of air potato.This article provides information on the distribution, appearance, life cycle, host range and importance of the beetle (keep reading)
So here we have a perfect prepper plant with the potential to be a no-work caloric stable… and they release a beetle to destroy it.
Is there some kind of anti-staple food conspiracy going on?