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Messages - Caesar

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1
And there are two varieties of dioscorea bulbifera, yellow and purple. You can see it here:

  https://come-se.blogspot.com/2011/09/cara-moela-frito-dois-em-um.html
https://come-se.blogspot.com/2012/09/cara-moela-coluna-do-paladar-4.html
https://come-se.blogspot.com/2012/05/cara-moela-roxo-bem-apimentado.html

Yummy!!!   :P :P :P

Interesting, I've seen purple Asian types, but I hadn't seen a purple African type before (though I had read about it). They seem to cook it with the skin, and in some cases even eat the skin. I had thought the skin was inedible.

*

Also, to clarify something said earlier, Grower Jim hasn't been contacted (just referenced), the contact is someone else. As for Jim, he doesn't seem to sell bulbifera on his site, but he might be worth trying.

2
Another Dioscorea bulbifera and Dioscorea hispida source: https://aseanplantexport.com/Tubers%20-bulb-Rhizomes?product_id=65

From the looks of things, that's a medicinal type, not an edible one. Like the ones on eBay. I wouldn't trust it. Bulbifera isn't like hispida or the other famine food yams... If you get a toxic type, processing it won't leach out the - very potent - toxins (that only works on the semi-toxic types, which shouldn't even be grown in my opinion, given the variety of bulbifera cultivars that lack that toxicity).

3
The aerial part dies back every year without fail, as an annual. The underground tuber is the perennial part. No idea how cold-hardy it is, though. If you're concerned about tuber survival, just dig up the tuber and re-plant it whole after the cold has passed. That's how I handled mine on first harvest (for other reasons), and they're doing fine, growing much more vigorously than last year.

4
But are there asian varieties as big as the african? The african seem much bigger in all the pictures I saw.
I'd rather have something inferior that I can use easily that something superior but easily become a hassle because I have to peel many small tubers to have a reasonable meal.
I think that's also the main reason you see more in the west, we usually don't have much patience :D

It's variable on both counts. I think the largest of the large are African, but the Asian varieties I've seen are fairly decent sized, like a moderately-sized potato. I wouldn't think them a hassle to handle at all at such sizes (if you were thinking polystachya size, I can see how peeling would be a problem - though polystachya doesn't require it). The size difference is small enough, that I wouldn't consider it a factor when comparing the different types. I would think that the angles would make for a tougher peeling experience.

Yearling vines always put out small bulbils. Only from the second year onwards are they supposed to consistently produce the larger bulbils.

5
WOW! That's great to know they have this two! Thank's!  ;D

No problem, they have a lot of cool stuff there, I've been meaning to place an order for a long time. But first, the priorities.


Finally I found it. I remember seeing this dioscorea long ago and put in my wish list but couldn't remember the name, thanks!
Is that price for 1 bulbil or 10? Because they say each packet is 10 seeds, but doesn't say how many bulbils, if same.

EDIT
Just noticed by searching the forum, that you were the one reviewing the plant. Why are you buying from another source?
Hoping for diversity?

EDIT 2
Where can I find one this huge and with this unusual shape? Is it another species?
The video from USA all have this squarish shape:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YuIQ9ivgsY

I think it was for 3 bulbils, probably 'cause they're not technically seeds.

Yes, diversity. There's a lot of variety in D. bulbifera (and in each of the other Dioscoreas). Because it's so rare over here, I've made it my mission to obtain as many edible accessions of Air Potato as I can. It shouldn't be so hard to find a good edible foodstuff like this one, especially one so productive, so I will do my part to make it more common and readily available.

The angled varieties are all of African descent. I call the African ones "D. latifolia" to distinguish them, but that's an old non-valid botanical name for them; they truly are D. bulbifera. According to the link I posted for TYATP, the Asian bulbiferas are superior in taste to the African types, and far exceed them in productivity as well. I still think the African ones are worthwhile, and am seeking them out; I haven't found any so far, though. Las Cañadas has them, but they don't ship outside of Mexico (if any forum member from Mexico is able and willing to obtain and ship them, pm me please).

Ironically, from what I can tell, the African bulbiferas are far more common in cultivation here in the west, yet they've been very hard for me to find. Meanwhile, the edible Asian types are almost unheard of here, yet I've been able to find one or two sources for them. There are several African types (each with multiple cultivars), but I can't really tell them apart... I think some have sharper angles than others. The edible Asian types fall into two main categories (also with multiple cultivars): Sativa and Suavior. If it were up to me, I'd get them all!

6
Pineislander is talking to Jim, so if there's material to be shared I expect he'll get it this year and be sending it out from next year's harvest. Though I wouldn't mind talking to Jim myself to see if he knows of additional sources for other varieties.

As for eBay, all the currently available bulbifera growers I've tried are selling theirs as medicinal, not edible, so there's nothing there.

I'm still waiting on a reply from YouTube's Plant Assasin, as well as a guy from India who blogged about seeing (and I think growing) three Asian cultivars (seemingly Suavior, judging from the prominent lenticels). I don't know if I'm expecting too much, considering the date of that post (2015), but I really hope he replies. Blog here. I'm considering contacting the Agricultural University mentioned in the blog post, but I'm not exactly sure how I'd go about it... That said, their variety is an improved Suavior developed by them, so I'd consider it important. I think I'll contact them sooner or later, though I'm not sure they'd be willing to ship to a random overseas grower.

I found out today that Rare Palm Seeds is selling D. bulbifera as a new item. After some trial and error figuring out the proper extensions, I called their office in Germany and confirmed that it is an edible Asian type. I combined it with Chachafruto / Basul (Erythrina edulis) to meet the 30 euro minimum and placed an order. Page link here, ordering link here.

7
I commented on a video of his a few days ago, but I think I was a little late to the party. Perhaps I would've had better luck commenting on one of his blog posts, but I'm waiting for him to post something relevant; I don't wanna hijack a thread from another topic to talk about yams. Unless there's a way to message him directly?

I've been scouring the net looking for other growers of edible D. bulbifera (and other rare types), and messaging every one I can. So far, I haven't had much in the way of answers, but I'm hoping to find something sooner or later. The more bulbifera clones I have, the better the comparison I can make regarding productivity and quality, not to mention the breeding possibilities.

*

I found a source for D. hispida. I'm not getting it, but since I found it I might as well post it for any interested parties. They explicitly mention that it requires processing for toxicity, so there ya go: link here.

8
I contacted him. Apparently, he's grown it on several occasions but usually loses his stock to the drought (when grown in-situ in the bush) or to the critters (when grown in his garden). He's on the lookout to try it again, now that I've talked to him. I think he can ship it out no problem (I got my polystachya from him), but he can't receive yams himself. It's a pity, I was hoping to trade some of my bulbils with him.

9
Very awesome man! Just let me know when you have anything ready to trade/sell. I'm down for any and all edible yam varieties. You've done the work I've planned to do for some time. I'm a survival gardening minded guy and seek to have many varieties in the event of who knows what. Yams are perfect for such application being that they need very little attention over time with potential to be heavy producers. Got other root veggies that may interest you whenever.

DG

Yams are productive and, as far as I'm concerned, the tastiest roots. I'm looking forward to the trade, it'll be the first time I make something available forum-wide. I hope I manage to get good material safely to everyone involved.


I have some varieties of yam in my garden. Is there any manual/book describing the varieties which could help me to classify my varieties ?

The book links I posted in my last post explain the anatomy of the varieties, but I'll sum up the information on the most prominent distinctions. When talking about leaves, I mean the leaves on the upper portion of mature vines. Leaves on the lowest portion, as well as on young vines, can sometimes develop in a different configuration (usually alternate on a vine that otherwise has paired leaves).

Vines that twist to the left (lower right to upper left: the "S" twist):
D. esculenta
D. bulbifera
D. trifida
D. pentaphylla
D. dumetorum

Vines that twist to the right (lower left to upper right: the "Z" twist):
D. rotundata & cayennensis
D. alata
D. nummularia
D. transversa
D. polystachya
D. japonica
D. hamiltonii

Paired Leaves:
D. rotundata & cayennensis
D. alata
D. nummularia
D. polystachya
D. japonica
D. hamiltonii

Alternate Leaves:
D. esculenta
D. bulbifera
D. trifida
D. transversa
D. pentaphylla
D. dumetorum

Pentaphylla leaves are divided into 5 leaflets, dumetorum into 3, the rest are singular. Trifida leaves are somewhat palmate, and other than the rounded leaflets of pentaphylla and dumetorum, the rest are heart-shaped (with varying ratios of length-breadth and varying degrees of rounded to angular corners).

Trifida, alata and hamiltonii stems have ridges/wings (which can be substituted by corresponding ridges of spines in some varieties of alata). Rotundata, cayennensis, esculenta, pentaphylla and dumetorum stems tend to be spined or prickly; the rest are smooth (though some species, like nummularia, can have prickles at the base). Bulbifera and nummularia have round stems, polystachya has a square stem. Dumetorum is highly pubescent/fuzzy.

Bulbifera has round bulbils (usually large, but tiny ones are also produced), polystachya and japonica bulbils can be round or oval, and are always small. Alata bulbils are ovoid to long & irregular, and are small to medium sized. Pentaphylla bulbils (allegedly not edible) are small to medium sized and horseshoe shaped, and dumetorum bulbils (probably toxic) are spiny. I'm not sure how transversa bulbils are, but only some varieties produce them. The rest don't usually produce bulbils. Bulbifera is a reliable producer of bulbils, whereas not all varieties of alata produce bulbils (and those that do aren't usually as productive as bulbifera).

Those are the main distinctions, but there's always variation among the species listed, never mind those that I didn't get to list, which should have further differences. Can you take closeup pictures of your vines? Leaves, lower and upper stems and how the stems curl? They might be easy to identify right here.

*

My Ube kept declining, so after examining the roots (which already had a new tuber forming, with the old tuber not fully deteriorated) I cut the vine to a stump (hoping for it to branch, or for a new one to form from the base) and replanted it in a small pot for observation. I accidentally knocked off the old tuber, and I'm really hoping I can get a second vine from it.

The first mystery yam bulbils have rotted away. Only two remain, and I think they'll rot soon enough. The second mystery yam (sold as D. pseudo-tomentosa) arrived in the mail, suspiciously packaged identically to the first mystery yam, despite being a separate Thai eBay seller. That said, while dry, they definitely seemed to be in much better condition, and even seemed to have some sprouts forming. I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll get them to grow without losing them. Here's some pics:



The pentaphylla bulbils have yet to arrive, and I'm a little worried about the state they'll be in. I'm also waiting on an alata (which I bought thinking I'd get a dumetorum due to the photos used), a cayennensis, and some non-Dioscoreas: an Elephant-foot Yam (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius), some Ensete ventricosum seeds and Roy's Hogdsonia seeds. It's exiting to expect something in the mail every day, and a little nerve-wracking (you'll never know when it'll arrive and in what state it'll be in).

10
You are the yam King! Agree with above poster.

I too am into yams but haven't been able to source many varieties that are edible. Only have the D. alata purple type and D. opposita. Would love any you could share! I'm going to make a post shortly with a list of plants I have available. Maybe we could trade???

DG

Definitely! I'll have material available as soon as the vines die back, maybe somewhere around November - March.

I managed to contact the local Ag. Station in Corozal, where they apparently specialize in Yams. I'm not sure how many varieties they have, but they explicitly confirmed that they have several varieties of D. esculenta, as well as several each of D. alata, D. rotundata and D. trifida. They'll have stock ready later in the year as well, which I'll acquire and plant for next year. I'm gonna give them some of my bulbiferas, so they can evaluate the variety as well. If I give them a bulbil, they won't be able to give it a fair shot until the year after, but if I give them an in-ground tuber, they should get a mature productive vine in their first year. Hmm... I think I can spare a tuber.

Speaking of my bulbifera, I reviewed parts of TYATP (Tropical Yams and their Potential) again, and I'm fairly confident that my bulbifera is varietas "Sativa". Of the asian bulbiferas, there are four varieties: two small-bulbilled wild types (distinguished from each other by leaf shape), Suavior (which is characterized by prominent lenticels on large mature bulbils), and Sativa (which is characterized by smooth-skinned large mature bulbils). Mine only had noticeable lenticels during early development, but they always matured smooth. Incidentally, TYATP explicitly stated that the bulbiferas from India and South East Asia were both tastier and way more productive than the African bulbiferas (the ones I prefer to call latifolia, to distinguish them). It kinda makes me wonder why the African types appear to be more common among those growing bulbiferas. Also, they had a table with data collected from a large collection of different bulbifera cultivars (now defunct, curtesy of the USDA, to which it belonged), and their Sativa accession (from India, like my own) far outproduced all other cultivars, even other Asian types. The only one that produced more bulbils was a New Caledonian type, which thoroughly underproduced the in-ground tuber (unlike Sativa, which was a good producer of tubers). I'll post screenshots of the relevant pages:




Another fact I recently learned from these documents is that D. hamiltonii (which I'm now trying to germinate) is a close relative (and probable ancestor) of D. alata. I didn't expect that, given its tolerance for cooler conditions than alata. Then there's the fact that some types of D. rotundata can be cropped twice in one year, which is something I'd like to try myself. Relevant pages here:



And



I'm quoting and posting all these screenshots, and it hadn't occurred to me to post the original documents, so here they are, in full downloadable PDF glory: Tropical Yams And Their Potential, Parts 1 - 6:

1. D. esculenta.

2. D. bulbifera.

3. D. alata.

4. D. rotundata & cayennensis.

5. D. trifida.

6. Minor Dioscorea Yams.

11
There's a tree at my grandmother's that was dropping fruit lately. I'll have to see if it has any more. I don't really have much experience shipping, but given my own received packages I think it involves a ziplock bag full of vermiculite for the recalcitrant seeds, right?

I'm going to  do some experiment with them and graft some marang seedlings on them. They are supposed to handle poor soil better than marang, so lets try and see.

Moist vermiculite or peat moss in zip lock bag, Let me know about your offer.

Thanks

They're very vigorous and can handle poor soil very well.

I checked my grandmother's tree, but couldn't find any fruit. I think we just missed the season. My apologies.

12
I did rehydrate them prior to sowing, but my concern was the extent to which they were dried, the fact that some were apparently squished in the package, and the fact that all of them had already sprouted, and the sprouts were nothing but dried twigs at this point. They'll probably succumb to rotting, but I'm still praying for a miracle.

I got my D. hamiltonii seeds yesterday, I think there were like 30 in the package. I planted 10 in a jar covered with plastic wrap to preserve moisture, and soaked the rest, per the instructions. I'll be planting those soon in a plastic pot.



13
That's a mighty fine planting you have there. Would you say the mulch has worked favorably at keeping the weeds down?

I haven't seen any new growth, but my ube seems to be perking up a bit, so that bodes well. With all the roots I've been growing lately, I'm concerned that I might get nematodes on the property eventually. I'm thinking of intercropping with Marigolds and Huacatay wherever I grow roots. Would that be a good preventative?

14
There's a tree at my grandmother's that was dropping fruit lately. I'll have to see if it has any more. I don't really have much experience shipping, but given my own received packages I think it involves a ziplock bag full of vermiculite for the recalcitrant seeds, right?

15
Haha, the Yam King... I like the sound of that. But surely the original document authors have me beat in that regard. I remember that when I first got into agriculture, having decided to become a farmer, I'd facetiously tell my friends that my work would be growing yams in the hillsides. I never imagined that I'd actually be dreaming of doing just that. Oh well, yams are only part of it, I love all edible crops. I hope I'll be able to get a piece of land soon.

I took some photos of the backyard, particularly the yam trellises. Please disregard the mess, I need to clean up soon.  ;)

Here's the pvc trellis, still under construction (just a couple of posts so far). I'll add some t-jointed side bars on top, and link everything with clotheslines. I'll also link it to the bamboo trellis, with which it's perpendicular at the corners.


Here's the bamboo trellis, with some very vigorous bulbifera vines reaching past it and into the big pigeon pea bush in the side yard... They'll be reaching the Açaí palms soon!


The bulbifera tote (six plus the original rotundata and a trifida), the tomato tote (with a second rotundata strain, a trifida and the two alatas - one of them the purpurea strain) and the Lerén tote (three of these, with four potato mints and six trifidas):



And a nice view of the rotundata growing up alongside the bulbifera:


I'll be adding more totes over time, as well as a few buckets for those that I'd like to grow more isolated or compact (like the polystachya & hamiltonii). The green tote off to the side (currently housing some turmeric that I'll move to the ground) will house the Hodgsonia vines.

***

I forgot to post a pic of my dried up mystery bulbils, so here it is:


And the links to the pentaphylla bulbils (I bought the first one):
Link 1, and Link 2.

Also, either I misread the information or it was outdated, because I found two to four extra Yams from Madagascar that are allegedly edible: D. acuminata and/or D. maciba, and D. alatipes and/or D. bako.

16
Well, I think I finally cracked. I went too deep, and now I mostly have yams on the brain. But that's okay... I'll never go hungry with a good yam collection.  ;)

Having read the 6 documents of "Tropical Yams and their Potential", as well as other sources, I've come up with a list of yams that I'm looking to collect, multiply and disseminate to other growers (these are marked with a checkmark: ✓). I've also listed a couple of other yams that are deemed edible by the literature, but that don't strongly catch my attention (also marked with a checkmark anyway: ✓), have been outright rejected (these are marked with an X), or have poorly-known qualities regarding their edibility (asterism: ⁂ ).

The Big 5 (or 8, depending on how you segregate the species): ✓
1 - D. rotundata (White Guinea Yam) + D. cayennensis (Yellow Guinea Yam)
2 - D. alata (Greater / Winged Yam) + D. purpurea (Ube / Purple Yam)
3 - D. bulbifera (Asian Air Potato) + D. latifolia (African Air Potato)
4 - D. esculenta (Lesser / Potato Yam)
5 - D. trifida (Cushcush / Mapuey Yam)

The Lesser 5:
1 - D. pentaphylla (Five-leaf Yam) - ✓
2 - D. transversa (Australian / Pencil Yam) - ✓
3 - D. nummularia (Pacific Yam) - ✓
4 - D. dumetorum (Trifoliate Yam) - ¿✓?
5 - D. hispida (Intoxicating Yam; also known as D. reticulata) - X

The Temperate 3: ✓
1 - D. polystachya (Nagaimo / Chinese Yam; also known as D. oppositifolia & D. batatas)
2 - D. japonica (Japanese Yam)
3 - D. hamiltonii (¿Nameless? I'd just call it Hamilton's Yam)

The Leftovers? (not a great name, but  don't know what else to call 'em; it doesn't mean they're of bad quality):
1 - ¿D. pseudo-tomentosa? (¿Nameless?) - ✓
2 - D. remotiflora ("Camote de Cerro" / Mexican Mountain Yam) - ✓
3 - D. dodecaneura (Ornamental Yam) - ✓
4 - D. orangeana (¿Madagascar Yam?) - ⁂
5 - D. brachybotrya ("Papa Cimarrona" / "Jaboncillo") - X
6 - D. humifusa ("Huanqui") - X
7 - D. deltoidea (¿Nameless?) - X
8 - D. rupicola (¿Elephant's Foot?) - ⁂
9 - D. altissima (Dunguey) - ⁂
10 - Rajania cordata ("Ñame Gulembo") - ¿X?

I'm currently growing D. rotundata, alata, purpurea, bulbifera, trifida, and polystachya. I have some possible sources to check out for D. esculenta, japonica, latifolia and additional strains of bulbifera. D. cayennensis eludes me, but though I'm sure it's here in Puerto Rico, it's not common nor easy to find (if anyone has some, send 'em my way).

I recently received a mystery yam in the mail from eBay, but it arrived so thoroughly dried out that I don't expect it to survive (though the vendor assures me that it should or they'd reimburse me, which I declined); nevertheless, I planted it anyway and hope against hope that I'll get something out of it. It was sold as a D. pentaphylla, but the vine photos reminded me of alata, and the bulbil photos resembled bulbifera. The vendor confirmed it was not pentaphylla, but I bought it anyway 'cause it was cheap and I felt like trying it out. At any rate, the vendor confirmed that it was fully edible, bulbils-and-all, so I considered it valuable anyway. If it survives, I hope to be able to deduce the species from the anatomy.

I have some D. hamiltonii seeds coming in the mail, as well as some true pentaphylla bulbils. When asked about the pentaphylla bulbils (as opposed to the tuber), the vendor said they don't eat them, but they never explicitly confirmed that they were toxic. I'd really like to know if they're edible, but since there are toxic pentaphylla strains out there, I'm reluctant to try them; if I could find a lab able and willing to analyze a cooked sample, I could lay that doubt to rest. The tuber was confirmed to be edible steamed.

There's another mystery yam coming in the mail, sold as D. pseudo-tomentosa. I couldn't find anything in the literature about this species being edible (or toxic), only that it's endangered. The photos of the yam may have vaguely resembled D. esculenta, but I may be reaching with that conclusion. Truth be told, I'd love for it to be genuine D. pseudo-tomentosa, to add another good species to the germplasm. Link here.

D. transversa is very high on my wish list (specifically the large-tubered bulbil-bearing strain), but no luck finding it yet. No idea where to find D. nummularia (which is said to closely resemble rotundata), but I also consider it important as a supposedly good-quality species. Interestingly, one document claimed that some nummularia cultivars were introduced to Puerto Rico; also, there seems to be some confusion in the literature whether to consider the cultivar "Wael" as a type of transversa or of nummularia.

I don't object to D. dumetorum if I can obtain it, but I'm not really looking for this one. The best strains still seem like poor quality yams and they have to be eaten quickly after harvesting or they turn hard (even after cooking) and difficult to peel (as if their strange shape didn't already make that a challenge). The worst strains are downright toxic, which leads me to its close relative... I don't even know how D. hispida made it into the original documents. I don't even care that they have in-fact been eaten before (and they're probably still eaten to this day), even the best strains are dangerously toxic and require jumping through hoops to detoxify and turn them edible, and we all know how I feel about that... Famine food. So I just mentioned it for completion's sake, but I don't consider that species edible, nor am I interested in it in the slightest.

D. remotiflora is an edible wild mexican yam that barely even has a presence in the literature. If it weren't for a single isolated YouTube video (link here) showing its harvest, I wouldn't even know this species was edible. It seems to bear some resemblance to D. polystachya, which is also referred to as "Camote de Cerro" in Mexico. As it seems to be rare and difficult to find, with few traits to explicitly recommend it, I won't go out of my way looking for it. But if someone out there has some and is willing to share, I'd be very grateful nonetheless.

D. dodecaneura doesn't seem like an especially important species, but it is listed in several sources as being edible raw or cooked with an almond-like flavor; it's also a beautiful ornamental. I'm kinda interested in it. A few links: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

D. orangeana is Madagascar's only edible native Dioscorea, and is a recent discovery. I've yet to find an online source that knows anything about it, or if it's even conventionally edible (as opposed to a hispida-like famine food). Unless it's explicitly confirmed as conventionally edible, I'm not too interested in it (and even then, it's like remotiflora, where it's so rare I'm not sure it's worth going out of my way for it).

I saw brachybotrya, humifusa, deltoidea and rupicola on a YouTube video (link here) where a guy was trying to germinate them from seed (along with other rare supposedly edible species... like reticulata/hispida). When checked online, the Chilean brachybotrya & humifusa turned out to be toxic and bitter (¿saponins?), and probably require special preparation, so I'm not interested in either as a crop. Deltoidea from Asia was also said to be bitter but edible in PFAF, though the article (link here) urged caution, and mentioned that it's boiled with wood ashes to remove bitterness. It doesn't seem like a good prospect either, so I'm not interested. Regarding rupicola, I could barely find anything about it online, but one seed seller claims it to be edible (link here). I couldn't see the details because when I clicked the link it failed to open for me. Maybe the link will work for one of you and you can post the screenshot. At any rate, I'll be interested if it turns out to be conventionally edible, but as a desert plant I doubt it'd be particularly prolific as a crop, so I probably wouldn't go out of my way for it anyway.

Edit: Another species:
D. altissima was present in another seed sowing video. There's not much in the literature about it, but it's apparently wild harvested and occasionally home grown for its edible tubers in parts of its native range in South America; it's also present in Puerto Rico. A photo search revealed a very thorny stem and small aerial bulbils. I wouldn't grow it from anything other than seeds, for fear that it might carry the same virus as R. cordata, but since there's no details available on preparation & toxicity level (¿Conventionally edible? ¿Detoxification necessary?), I'm not too interested in trying it... Maybe a little. Info link here.

And finally, Rajania cordata, our very own Ñame Gulembo. It's a close relative of Dioscorea. I don't recall having tasted this one (though I might be mistaken). I'll have to ask around for am account of its flavor, but my grandmother mentions that it is fibrous. It grows wild in the mountains of Puerto Rico and is wild-harvested here. So why have I rejected it? Because it is a carrier of a virus that is a very nasty disease of D. trifida (and also affects other species, to varying degrees). That's a big risk for a crop that's probably not very decent (though it requires no special preparation). Why the question marks? Well, I've yet to find out if the seeds carry the disease. If they don't, I wouldn't mind trying my hand at this species. But first I need assurance that I'm not endangering my other yams before I'd be willing to even consider it.

***

So this is a taste of what I wish to achieve. There's a lot of edible yam roots out there, and I wanna grow as many as I can, especially the better types, and help get them to other interested growers. It seems absurd to me that something as widespread, productive and gastronomically wholesome as the air potato was so hard for me to find in the first place. And it seems even weirder that other good yams (which don't have the same legal issues) seem even harder to find. So let's get a good germplasm collection up and running to get these species into the hands of other hobbyists. The more people join our exchange network, the better.

17
The aerial part is very delicate. Mine too was half damaged but luckily it resprouted immediately below the damage and now it does roughly 3-5cm per day.
Maybe it doesn't like the substrate or you are watering too much?
Since it's so delicate I guess it doesn't stand wind well too, are you keeping it outdoor with windy days?
I am keeping mine inside in a well lit position until it's large enough.

If it resprouts so readily, I don't think I'll have to take drastic measures. Thanks!

It's usually not too dry, nor too wet; I'd say it's well balanced (but not today, I just watered right now 'cause it was looking dry). The substrate in this tote is mostly compost, so I doubt that's the issue. It's outdoors, but in an area that's well protected from the wind, and with only some morning sun (indirect, because I've placed the vine amongst other plants for protection). I think it's mostly the shipping stress that's causing this.

Only 1st year bulbil-grown plants are so thin at the start, and even then if sprouted in-situ (as opposed to protected) they can handle tough conditions and moderate wind fairly well. Vines grown from tuber cuttings start off much stouter and stronger. I have a Florido alata sprouting right next door from a tuber cutting, and the difference is rather big.

Here's a picture of the upper vine, the tip damage , and the Florido yam (to the right of the picture, with tomato leaf and stem in the fore and background respectively, and the Ube vine just behind the Florido sprout):




18
I'm concerned about my own vine. It was pretty enough on arrival, but for its stay in the box it was limp, with slightly yellowed leaves and a worryingly dark growing tip. Well so far it has remained limp, and while the greater tip area has gained a slight coiling curve, the dark tip finally looks dry and dead. I don't know if leaving it alone will yield new growth from another node or from the rootstock, or if the whole thing will end up dead. I might cut the very tip off to encourage branching, but I'm concerned that might hurt it. It occurred to me to cut the vine off at soil level and pray that the rootstock will send up a new vine (because it did have a nice little bulb and seemingly good roots when planted), but I fear that might end up finishing it off. Anybody got any ideas? For the time being, I plan on leaving it alone for a week or two in case the vine bounces back, but if it looks like it's going downhill, I'll probably cut the top growth off entirely.

19
This was a good source for winged bean seeds, they germinated well and are up 3-4 feet. I seeded direct.
Winged bean can be long-day short day or day neutral. She sells day neutral but they tend to flower better as days become shorter in northern hemisphere fall.
https://www.asiangarden2table.com/product/winged-bean/

This video shows how she grows in Florida. She did quite a bit of careful pruning to focus growth on flowering instead of vine growth which resulted in more fruiting lower on the vines.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEFsQtxzx2M

I'll have to go for those seeds, 'cause mine aren't sprouting. Mine were left over from the last time I grew them a few years ago. It was a measly vine that only gave one pod, growing in very poor soil and semi-shade. I was hoping to have better results now that I had the totes and trellis up and running. All in good time.

And her vine looks amazing! Way more vigorous and productive than mine. Can't wait to give it another go, though there's one thing that confused me last time. I tried to boil the root, but it stayed hard and tough the whole time (and I ended up burning it later by not paying attention). Any ideas why or if it's supposed to be normal?

20
Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Re: Tacca leontopetaloides
« on: June 29, 2018, 10:06:21 PM »
I answered my own question on the latter point. According to Grower Jim (link here), Maranta Arrowroot can be eaten boiled, roasted, baked or fried. So essentially it's a fair root vegetable, and incidentally happens to excel at extractable starch production (to the point where it's better known for this than for its fresh-cooked uses).

Regarding Tacca Arrowroot, I scoured the net again searching high and low, and though I didn't find explicit confirmation that it can't be used boiled, the information pretty much leads me to that conclusion. Plants for a Future (link here) mentions raw and roasted consumption, but I think that thoroughly misrepresents its use (raw is said elsewhere to be medicinal and used sparingly) and its danger (with some sources claiming it to be lethal). Most sources stuck to the standard processing techniques as described here.

Perhaps considering it a low-quality famine food is unfair, as it really does seem productive for starch, and has been well-used in its native range (and beyond it). Nevertheless, like bitter cassava, it definitely isn't a proper vegetable, but rather a starch source. I suppose I wouldn't mind having it around tucked in a corner some day, but it's not really a priority for me. With the very wide range of starchy crops available that don't require processing (though they can be ground into flour), I think it's best to stick with those for home consumption. The only processing starch crop that really calls my attention (for its sheer productive potential, and its alleged quality) is True Sago Palm (Metroxylon sagu), but that's a conversation for another time.

21
Tropical Vegetables and Other Edibles / Tacca leontopetaloides
« on: June 28, 2018, 11:08:49 PM »
This one's been on the edge of my radar for years, but I've never given it a fair chance 'cause there's so little information available on it, and what is available makes it sound like a famine food (of the poor quality type). It's toxic in its raw form, but that's true of a lot of staple foods, from yams to taro and many more. These more-common species have their toxins readily dealt-with by a simple boiling session, which is the standard cooking method of starch roots anyway. Indeed, that is the standard by which I measure starch roots: if they're edible after merely peeling and boiling them (to the exclusion of other processing steps), then they're a good garden crop, but if they require jumping through hoops to get rid of any toxins, then they're no better than a famine food (like a lot of wild yams), or at least not ideal for home processing (I view bitter cassava this way).

Well I've looked high and low for information on this species, but the only explicit references to its edible nature mention starch extraction & washing, or soaking the root (plus other steps) to use it. Not a single source explicitly confirms nor rejects the idea of simply boiling the root to eat it, like a normal vegetable. Does anyone here have any experience with it as a crop (not an ornamental)? Can anyone confirm whether or not it can be eaten like a normal root veggie (boiled, not heavily processed)? I'm really keen to try this one out, but I don't wanna waste my time with something that I can't eat as a proper vegetable.

For the record, I may as well ask... Can Maranta arrowroot be used as a vegetable, or is it only useful as an extracted starch?

22
Is any forum member growing this species? Maybe in Australia? From what I've read, there's a rainforest type that lacks bulbils, and a northern variant that produces bulbils and has a larger in-ground tuber. Naturally, I'm gravitating towards the latter. So does anyone here have any experience with them? What are they like?

23
Thank you Ceasar! Please reserve to me one tiny bulb of the 3 species you have.   ;D

I have other species too, and still more on the way. I even found a local source of D. esculenta that I'm going to look into. I'll save you some from all the ones I grow.  :)

24
Thank you very much to both of you!  ;D

No problem!


Mine just arrived today, in fair condition. Green stem with purple-based petioles. The bit of tuber at the base looks brightly purple (a bit dulled by the soil, but still bright). I planted it into the tomato's tote, where there's a Florido D. alata and a D. rotundata growing already. I placed the stem in the shade while it acclimates to local conditions.

Pics:



25
I couldn't resist and ended up buying a bulbil from eBay. A variety sold as Dark Night St. Vincent. The seller has good reviews and the photos seem legit, so I doubt it's a scam (and we all know seed scams abound on eBay). It looked insanely purple on the inside, and even the stem looker thorough purple in the pics. It was overpriced, but I couldn't resist. I think it's supposed to arrive next week.
Hi! Please can you post the link of this seller please? Thank's!  ;D

This was the exact listing: https://m.ebay.com/itm/RAREST-EXOTIC-TRUE-DARK-NIGHT-ST-VINCENT-DIOSCOREA-ALATA-PURPLE-YAM-PLANTS/273161334787?hash=item3f99af3003:g:gcQAAOSwKvFa08vC

If you haven't acquired any Ube by winter, I think I'll post them as available for selling/trade by then, if I can get my vine to bear a fair crop of bulbils.

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