Hi all
There has been lots of talk about potatoes and all the problems associated with growing them, anyone heard of this one?
Wikipedia has quite a bit of info but basically they seem to be a quick growing,perennial vine that grow edible tubers. 
I became interested when someone I work with told me about a vine that he found growing in Southport with tubers on it at the moment. I'm going to have a look at during the week but was wondering if anyone has heard of/seen/grown these around Brisvegas? 
Wikipedia says that it can be very invasive as it  grows quickly and blocks out shade to everything underneath it, would it be safe under a close eye?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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  • Well, guys great news, Peter, My air potato discoverer, has just been to visit again and pointed out the plant that was growing (fairly timidly) in my weed infested work garden. It's only about a foot high and no signs of bulbs but I will keep a close eye on it and keep you posted.  No bush close by, which is good and as it is in an isolated garden bed I hope it shouldn't pose a weed threat - in any case it has a lot of competition, I need to get to work, feeling somewhat inspired after the discovery :0)
  • Fat Hen is a weed but also edible, it ia a close relative botanically of Good King Henry (also called 'Wild Spinach' in the UK), another Chenopodium species. The name says it all, Fat Hen is a great poultry forage or 'throwever green'. I harvest these weeds young for the chooks and try to avoid having them go to the seed in the garden. Weeds can be surprisingly nutritious, we do a wild harvest for a weed pesto. Purslane figures prominently but young fresh Fat Hen or Chickweed is good too.

     

    This is a good home garden website from the western suburbs of Sydney: 

    http://www.underthechokotree.com/index.php?option=com_content&v...

    spring

  •  

    I used to grow aerial potatoes quite a few years ago but didn't really like the taste compared to the Chinese/Winged yam, another Discorea species. It was also very weedy, not as bad as the Madeira Vine mentioned but it still dropped very large numbers of small bulbils that then wound tightly up plants and smothered them (similar to what Wikipedia reported in Florida, where the vines grow to 70 feet long). It became quite a nuisance because it was also hard to pull out. The aerial potatoes are impressive and can weigh up to a kg each.  The leaves are dinner-plate size and attractive.  Green Harvest doesn't offer them for sale because of the weediness, I believe this plant has serious weed potential if it gets into rainforest gullies. Taste is a very individual thing, I found them a bit soapy. Also I was concerned about botanical reports that they were not truly edible and contained possible steroids. One species of Discorea is grown in Mexico to produce the hormone drugs used for contraception. If you are keen to grow some they should be fairly easy to come by.

    They are not related to Madeira Vine which is actually a distant relative of Ceylon Spinach.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dioscorea_bulbifera

    • Wow, that's huge!  I thought they must be similar size to the air tubes on madeira vine, but obviously not...

       

      I have enough weeds in my yard and have just discovered that I've introduced a new one 'Fat Hen' *doh*

      • Isn't 'fat hen' a desirable culinary herb?
        • That's what I thought but Larissa posted this on my page, so not so sure - I'll have to do some research myself when I get time.

           

          Donna - is this what you have? Its on the weed list. http://www.weeds.org.au/cgi-bin/weedident.cgi?tpl=plant.tpl&sta... 

          No sure what that means though. 

          • Oh hum ... I need to look into that a bit more, looks a bit like some unknown plants in my yard and I've taken seeds expecting a culinary herb. Need to check with Isabell Shipard too, do that later on.
  • Hi Trinnette, just wondering did you manage to get your hands on some and gave them a try?
    • Hey Florence, well I went hunting for the vine that was apparently growing close to my work but I couldn't find it... then when I was away from work the guy came back with one (or maybe some) and planted them in my garden. They haven't popped up yet or at least I can't see them so I don't know what to do until see this guy again. He works for the council and come by intermittently. Will keep my fingers crossed and keep you posted If I find them growing in my garden :0)
      • sounds interesting. as long as it's edible not poisonous or isn't that madeira vine or some other noxious weed. we have a huge mound of dirt at the back of our place that needs something to grow all over it. thought of putting a couple of hardy local native bush type things as it is difficult to irrigate, not edible tho. those could be the solution!
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