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Messages - Caesar

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I read up on this plant a few months ago and decided to give it a shot; I'm waiting on my plant in the mail right now. Edible leaves and potato-like rhizomes, plus a prolific profusion of aerial bulbils that I was fascinated by (not unlike the bulbil-bearing yams; it seems like a great way to harvest roots without digging). The only drawback (and a big one at that) is its potential for invasiveness, so please... Handle with care. Responsible management is important.

The leaves are said to resemble those of its close relative, Malabar Spinach (the other Binahong, Basella alba), with a similar - possibly stronger - flavor and a mucilaginous quality. The rhizomes are also thoroughly (¿distastefully?) mucilaginous if eaten raw, like its other relative Ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus), but with a mild starchy flavor instead of the typical dirt beetroot flavor of Ulluco; they're said to resemble potato when baked. (As an interesting tangent, I've read that Ulluco greens are far superior to its relatives, and indeed superior to genuine Spinach, yet for some reason they barely receive recognition.)

As for the bulbils, this is the part where it gets mildly frustrating and confusing. In most of the sites I read through, they were barely acknowledged as anything other than propagation material. If recognized as anything else, it was usually as medicinal: they've been proven to have anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and hepatoprotective qualities, and they may also increase nitric oxide levels in the brain (a minor red flag for me, but I'll get back to that later). A few places went so far as to call them inedible without elaborating further, but that didn't make sense to me at all. The leaves, "roots" and even tender stems (shoots?) are all said to be edible, so why would a tender tuber-like bulbil not be as edible as the rest of the plant? Consider me biased, but I had to find a site that called them edible (or at the very least one that addressed the discrepancy). I found it, with this link stating that the bulbils can be roasted and eaten like chestnuts. So with that bit of info, I do intend to experiment with cooking the bulbils, as I will with the rhizomes.

Regarding the three medicinal traits (mentioned in passing here), I don't think they would detract from the edibility of the bulbils. Regarding the nitric oxide, I'm a bit more wary but also ignorant. Does cooking reduce or eliminate its precursor? (ancordin). Is nitric oxide a bad thing to have in the brain, or something neutral? The article in question (summarized in Green Deane's page here) seemed to imply that it wasn't a problem (something about low cytotoxicity?), but I may have misread that.

Whatever the case, I hope to have fun with this species. Perhaps I should call it Basell Yam... It's a tuberous vine even if it isn't a yam, and it's technically not a potato either.

Further links:

1 -

2 -

3 -

I ordered a Dioscorea dodecaneura/discolor from this place: link. It'll be shipped next week, and I suspect it'll arrive before week's end.

Also trying again with D. pentaphylla, same vendor. Before buying, I asked the vendor about the harvest season and if they had fresh bulbils. They did, and they arrived in great shape! This time next year, I'll have Pentaphylla bulbils for distribution. As for dodecaneura, I'll have to figure out how to propagate it... Maybe layering?

Pentaphylla pics:

This ones are edible? I never saw them...  ;D

The Five-leaf Yam has edible and poisonous varieties. This one is being sold as edible, and the vendor eats them steamed. She also said she doesn't eat the bulbils, but couldn't explicitly confirm if they were toxic or merely ignored by the people. I'd like to cook a bulbil sample when they start producing and send it to a laboratory for analysis, but I haven't found a local lab yet that could analyze it.

And here are the two dioscorea bulbifera bulbs that i got from Cesar. They are big... 250g each and will be planted next spring!  ;D

I'm glad they arrived in good condition! I was a bit worried, this was my first time shipping international. But it looks like they had no trouble.

In the audio and text description it sounds like they're referring to several different species. The species shown looks like an alata. Interesting how different species are used in different ways depending on where you are.

If it weren't for the color, I'd say you got a "Feo" alata. "Florido" types are much easier to peel, being rounded, broad and cylindrical, not lobed (unless grown in heavy clay). I eat them all the same way, boiled, mashed and buttered. It looks like you got a tasty one!

The skin looks slightly tender, like it was picked young. The vine got its start late in the season, right? Not much time to grow. Did you save the little root?
Hi! Yes maby i harvest too soon... yes i saved them. That more round ones i don't know... they are good to eat? Do you have bulbs from this one? This is a new world opening... very excited!  ;D

Nah, you harvested on time, the vine just had a short growing season this year.

The round ones are good. Kind of like your description, it's a neutral taste. Of all the yams, alatas are the softest, and can fall apart in the water if overcooked (thus the name "water yam"). The best ones will be fiber-free. Decent ones will be full of soft, tender fibers. The worst ones have distastefully-noticeable fibers (at least that's my opinion, the folks here enjoy most yams even if they have a preference). I haven't had a bad one in a long time, so I'm not sure if it's related to variety or other factors.

I have "Florido". They're the most common yam here in the markets, together with my favorite, the Guinea Yam (drier, starchier). We propagate them the same way, by planting the top piece after cutting it off of the rest of the tuber; they rarely produce bulbils, if at all. There's also plenty of feral alatas in the mountains. I have a bulbil-bearing one that has taken over the back hillside. I think it's yellowish inside, with purple-tinged skin. I haven't tasted it in a while, but I'm growing one in a tub, so I will soon.

There's loads of yam varieties. The local Ag. Research Station has many that I don't. I can't wait to pay them a visit. I hope to come back with a few esculentas and some of the rarer Guinea types.

Searched for the species you are trying to find. Alass he has none. However great guy I've dealt with many times. He has connects too perhaps he might be able to help you source some seeds. Know he's good for finding rare things if you can strike his interests.

I tried him a while back, same results. Apparently he's been looking for it for a while now. Here's hoping he finds it soon. I also asked about the Australian yam, no luck.

If it weren't for the color, I'd say you got a "Feo" alata. "Florido" types are much easier to peel, being rounded, broad and cylindrical, not lobed (unless grown in heavy clay). I eat them all the same way, boiled, mashed and buttered. It looks like you got a tasty one!

The skin looks slightly tender, like it was picked young. The vine got its start late in the season, right? Not much time to grow. Did you save the little root?

I ordered a Dioscorea dodecaneura/discolor from this place: link. It'll be shipped next week, and I suspect it'll arrive before week's end.

Also trying again with D. pentaphylla, same vendor. Before buying, I asked the vendor about the harvest season and if they had fresh bulbils. They did, and they arrived in great shape! This time next year, I'll have Pentaphylla bulbils for distribution. As for dodecaneura, I'll have to figure out how to propagate it... Maybe layering?

Pentaphylla pics:

The Lerén harvest is done and all pieces have been sold off. I've set aside a couple to grow them again, and some others reserved for some folks that wanted some but couldn't have them shipped at the moment. That's it for this year, thanks for the interest.

Nice links! The purple ones seem even rarer and harder to find than the normal ones. All the types shown in the links are African types. There's purple Asian types as well. We need to find all of them!

I'm keen on trying more recipes myself, I'm gonna cook a few more this weekend to see what I can do with them. They really are good, kinda like a mix of yam and potato in flavor, not like full yam. It's weird, 'cause I thought they were called air "potatoes" based on appearance alone, but apparently taste is a factor as well.


Important note: there's a reason plants need proper spacing. I didn't get any Lerén to taste this year, and hardly any potato mint. Too much of both growing in the same pot, competing. The Lerén in particular was hungry and vigorous in root (while the potato mint was vigorous in foliage). I'm hoping to get a better harvest from the mints at my grandmothers house. Let's see how it goes.

The seeds are gone. I wasn't sure how to handle recalcitrant seeds, and they got moldy in the moistened coco fiber I kept them in. Sorry for the inconvenience everyone.

Hi all. I have a few dozen breadfruit nuts from a fruit that was harvested today. Most sprouted within the fruit and already have a small taproot. Good for nuts or for grafting other Artocarpus.

The price is 10 seeds for $3

Shipped in media.


Processing the seeds:

Total seed count:

A cooked batch from an underripe fruit:

Hi! I have A. camansi seeds now if you're still interested, the fruit was harvested today.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Jarilla chocola
« on: November 04, 2018, 12:39:25 AM »

The Hodgsonia vine is finally putting on some growth, I was beginning to worry.

When did you get your hodgsonia seeds? Mine in the summer still have to germinate, I think I have screwed up something.

Mine arrived on August 6. I think they took a couple of weeks to sprout, but then they spent a very long time in a weird state, with long-ish ground-hugging woody-seeming stems and strange growing tips that almost looked fasciated (and often dried up). This is the first time I've seen one sporting a proper vine (spotted it last week), and it's the only one that's done so thus far. Out of 6 seeds, 4 had sprouted. Not sure how many remain alive, I stopped digging around in that tub once the Jarilla grew bushy.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Jarilla chocola
« on: November 03, 2018, 07:02:19 PM »
They're starting to flower now. I think the one in the pic is a male.

The Hodgsonia vine is finally putting on some growth, I was beginning to worry.

I'm selling some air potatoes now, with a few other things, in the vegetable buy/sell/trade section. Link here:

I harvested 11 bulbils in October after the first of them fell to the ground. I only weighed the big one, but it was a full pound! Completely unexpected. It fell to the floor in the house and skinned where it made initial contact. My mom boiled it up with the second-largest bulbil and I shared it with my parents. They loved it, and I found the flavor a bit better than last year (though the texture was a bit off when mashed and buttered, I think 'cause I left it in the water too long... Should've drained it for a while).

I took a third bulbil and my mom fried it after a short soak in salty water (I forgot to photograph the finished product). It was bitter, though I found its softess more unappealing (though our home-made french fries also turn out soft, so I'm not sure it's a problem with the yam). If cooked any other way than boiled, I would recommend soaking in several changes of water to reduce bitterness (the initial water turned dark in our case). I was gonna try it baked, but didn't out of expectations of bitterness. Home fries seem like a good idea after a few soaks, as well as roasted parmesan wedges.

With this early harvest, I'm gonna start selling them here on the forum. Link here:

And now, the gallery:

Hi all! This post is where I'm going to advertise my root crops. I hadn't actually intended on doing it until after the end of the harvest season (December to February), but since I'm going to harvest my Lerén and Potato Mint in a few days (and I already have a few bulbils in hand), I decided to advertise all of it in a single place. I might be interested in trades, depending on what you have.

As stated elsewhere, I have PM'd previously interested parties prior to posting this, and if supplies run out, I will be taking note to provide on a first-come basis at next availability. So PM me what you're interested in, and if you didn't make it to this batch, I'll keep you in mind for the next month's batch.

I currently have some very few large bulbils of the edible Dioscorea bulbifera CV-1. Due to their size, I'm offering each at $5. I have a few medium bulbils on the vine that I might be able to pluck if need be, and those are at $2.50. There's a few smaller ones coming in, but I wouldn't pluck them until they reach medium size, to ensure viability. If I still get inquiries after this year's bulbils are gone, I'll dig up some of the roots from the 40-yam tote to supply, at $5. They'll be shipped in a paper bag (inside their package). They're likely to be dormant: last year's bulbils didn't sprout for me until May, despite being sown immediately on harvest.

Calathea allouia - Lerén rhizomes (not the tubers) are available at "2 pieces for $5", shipped in media unless you request otherwise.

Plectranthus rotundifolius - Hausa Potato Mint: rooted cuttings for $5 (potted in a party cup), 3 tiny tubers for $1 (if the plant made any tiny ones, like last year). Like the air potato, tubers will be dormant.

Bulbil production on Dioscorea polystachya seems meager so far. They can be provided on special request, but their dormancy is worse than bulbifera, so they'll take a good while longer to sprout.

So far, I don't expect bulbils on the purple D. alata this year, and the African Sena D. bulbifera started late in the game, but I'll update the situation as the season goes by.

I'm not comfortable sharing the Florido D. alata because I grew it in the same tub as some scabby potatoes; I don't wanna spread any pathogens. I'll be growing it again from a store-bought yam next year.

I haven't multiplied any of the Guinea Yams, not much to spare, but I might be able to spare a piece on special request. I don't know what to expect from the D. trifida this year, but I might have small pieces available at $3. All of these in this paragraph won't be harvested until the vines die back, between December and February.

Recap (currently available items):

D. bulbifera CV-1:
Large Bulbil / Root - $5
Medium Bulbil - $2.50

2 Rhizome Pieces - $5


Hausa Potato Mint:
Rooted Cuttings - $5
3 Tiny Tubers - $1

D. polystachya Bulbils - Special request.

All costs are mutually waived if we agree to a trade.

Disclaimer: Some of the species listed here may have invasive potential to varying degrees. Domestic edible air potatoes rarely last long in the wild, but having said that, please harvest and weed diligently to avoid escapees. Grow responsibly.

I'm gonna try that with my Ube, to focus on sending the bulbils to other growers. In fact, I won't be harvesting the tuber for at least a few years. I wanna make the vine grow strong and vigorous, to ramp up its bulbil production.


I have saturated myself with projects. The yams are all fine, but my second attempt at in-vitro potatoes for breeding was a disaster, and I didn't get to collect raspberry pollen for my hybrid experiment with the strawberry.

Here are the two surviving in-vitro potatoes, Skagit Valley Gold and Unica. I got the Unica as a tetraploid for reference, the rest were meant to be diploid, but I asked for a lot of tetraploids by mistake. They can be bred together, but them I'd have to rogue out triploids. They're sharing the tub with a pair of DTO varieties and a red phureja. I had poor luck with in-vitros, but I also asked for diploid seed and I expect to have better luck with seedlings, so the project isn't scrapped. The particular seeds are better adapted to my conditions anyway, compared to the in-vitro diploids, so that was a nice surprise.

But anyway, back to the yams. Here we have the base of the pvc trellis, showing everything I got growing around it. In the ground is a Barbados Gooseberry, then one bucket with the Ube one with the Nagaimo Yam, and then the two tubs, one with a struggling set of Hodgsonia + Jarilla, the other with the Sena Air Potato (reposted pic from the other thread). With said air potato are Recao, Mauka, Bambara Groundnut and a recently-planted Striped Peanut (not pictured).

Here's one of the Nagaimo Yams (D. polystachya) which I've since placed in the bucket with the rest. This one took a long time to come up from the roots. In fact, the Nagaimos are always the last to sprout in my yard, it's frustrating.

Some more recent pics of the Ube (note the stem looks slightly less red by now). I twined the Nagaimo over it, so it's a mess of leaves from both species, but the big Ube stem is easy to make out.

The Ube and the Air Potato twining around the trellis:

A leaf from the Yellow Guinea Yam that's growing on the bamboo trellis. This may be the prettiest yam I've yet grown (I don't have D. dodecaneura yet). It's dark green and tender-looking & glossy in leaf and stem. I hope it tastes as good as it looks.

The remaining pair of Mauka plants. I need to find a good place to plant them.

And finally, group photo: Elephant-foot Yams, Ensete ventricosum, Cerrado Cashew, rooted Florida Pistachio cuttings, and a Cyclophyllum coprosmoides (I have another in the ground).

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Jatropa
« on: October 17, 2018, 06:43:57 PM »
The cutting in the ground is growing in nicely. I planted some Dianella congesta around it.

Hello my friend! Thank's a lot! Please tell me when you have them available. Regarding other species i don't remember but you can tell me. Best regards!  ;)

Not sure it was you now that I think about it. I gotta review my post and pm history to remember who wanted what. At any rate, I'll be advertising soon after contacting you and the others, so if you want anything else I got, you'll know in short order.

I just got starts for the Plectranthus this past week. They were small plants I've potted up for propagation.

They grow fast and vigorously. They like space, and they root and form tubers where they touch the ground. I doubt they're as fast or far-reaching as sweet potatoes, but they make a good dense (and tall) groundcover, so they can probably swamp out weeds in time. Mine are touching the ground again, but I won't be cutting them back this time. They're flowering, so I may already have a harvest, but I'll leave them in the tub to harvest at the same time as the yams. They're sharing the tub with Lerén, which I'll harvest the same day. If anyone wants Lerén, I'll be trading it as well.

Also, if planting by tuber, I noticed the potato mint has dormancy; it took about as long as the air potato to start sprouting. The true potato I grew in the next tub was full of scab; I hope the potato mint isn't susceptible to that, 'cause the tender skin is one of the best parts of it.


Pics! Here we have the Lerén and Potato Mint:

The Sena Air Potato, growing with Recao (Eryngium foetidum), Bambara Groundnuts and a pair of young Mauka "Blanco" plants:

A trio of CV-1 Air Potatoes:

And for the first time... CV-1 flowers!

My first thought on seeing the flowers was "Hybrids!". But even if they complement each other in reproductive anatomy, my two strains may very well have differing ploidy, so I'm not sure I'll be able to cross them. Time will tell.

Thanks Caesar!
I have recently become enamored of solanums, and found your info very interesting!
Currently, I have Solanum betaceum, Solanum quitoense, Solanum betaceum, Solanum sibundoyense and Solanum sessiliflorum.


Thanks, I'm glad you found it interesting. And thank you for bringing S. sibundoyense to my attention, Inhave edited it into the document, in the Tamarillo section.

Solanum opacum is pretty tasty and can fruit in little as 3 months.

I had seed for that but stored it for too long, it failed to sprout; I was looking forward to tasting it. I'm actually also having trouble sprouting the Jaltomatas and Physaliastrum, and those were fresh seeds. Perhaps I shouldn't have covered them, but the soil covering was slight, so I don't understand why they'd have trouble with it.

I've currently managed to sprout some "Giant Cape Gooseberries" from Trade Winds. Species unknown, but supposedly a bigger plant and bigger fruits than the norm; last time I grew normal Cape Gooseberries, they were disappointingly small, and not much like the online pics, but they were the real deal, a taller plant, not sprawling like other ground cherries. They recently put up another giant type, a more specific one from the standard domestic species, labeled as Ayacucho Giant Cape Gooseberry; I think I'll get some of that one as well.

Here's my cape gooseberry seedlings, with the Jaltomatas that haven't sprouted yet:

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Jarilla chocola
« on: October 17, 2018, 02:59:11 PM »
Don't throw out that soil! Check for tubers. I recently dug up the one tuber I got from one of the two dead ones, and it hadn't rotted (it's been a month). Furthermore, it actually had a couple of tiny sprouts! I stuck it in the tub with the other plants, and then I remembered to take a pic, so I dug it out again and replanted quickly. The tub's soil is heavier, so it's not as clean as when I first put it in; the sprouts aren't clearly visible in the pic.

Mine don't seem to be that sensitive. They've handled rough transplantation like champs, and they're growing well in full sun. In fact, they've grown much faster now that I stuck them into the deep soil of the tub, which lends credence to my theory that they just don't like being pot-bound. The only ones I lost overstayed their welcome in their original pots.

I've noticed some branching going on too. If there's a chance that they can be vegetatively propagated (like Babaco), that would solve the issue of getting too many males. The excess males can be harvested for their tubers, and their trunks turned into candy, like papaya trunks. A select few males and the females might then be multiplied vegetatively.

Their growth  over a period of about a month:

The tuber:

And one of the Hodgsonia vines sharing the tub (they have not been growing very well at all, for some reason, though they've gotten a little better since planting the Jarilla):

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Cerrado Cashew (Anacardium humile)
« on: October 17, 2018, 02:40:55 PM »
Nutrient depleted ferralsols

Not too different from mine then.

Here's the one I stuck into the ground, doing well so far with some new growth. Barely discernible in the first picture, it's between the papaya plants, yautía and turmeric.

The Papas Voldoras from Las Canada's seem to have taken off. Some of the shoots are already about 6 feet long. The Beauregard didn't make it.

The Beauregard didn't handle the shipping stress well? How were they packaged? A root might have made the trip in better condition, but I guess they keep the roots as crops and just sell rooted cuttings.

It's great to hear the air potatoes are doing well for you. I think you may be the first person in the forum with that particular cultivar. But "papa voladora" is a pretty generic name, it's just air potato (or "flying potato"), so I think it's safe to assume that this clone is nameless. What would you name it?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Cerrado Cashew (Anacardium humile)
« on: September 29, 2018, 09:47:41 PM »
I have problems with all Anacardium spp. until transplanted to the ground, after which they take off in an almost insane growth speed  8)

Maybe they don't like pot culture? What's the soil like at your place?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Cerrado Cashew (Anacardium humile)
« on: September 28, 2018, 08:59:34 PM »
Thanks for the thread, it gives me hope for container culture.

Of the two trees that I had acclimated to sun and rain, I stuck one in the ground just below the top of the hill where the slope starts going down. I'll photograph it in the coming days. It's original top had died off and it has since sprouted several side shoots.

Of the three I kept under the roof, I sent one out back to acclimate with the remaining tree. Depending on how the in-ground and acclimated trees react to the local seasonal weather, I might plant out more or I might keep the remainder in pots (to shade them in inclement weather).

I'll be up-potting at least one until I get it into one of the big pots I've seen (I don't remember the exact size), and I'll be keeping that one in container culture long term, with heavy use of sand or perlite to prevent moisture damage.

I'll keep you all posted.

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