Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Air Potato - Dioscorea bulbifera L

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8-9 evening class, Monday to Friday  
Growing habit of the plant. The tubers are produced on the vine, a characteristic of ube and other members of the family. This introduced species produces more and bigger tubers of varying sizes. A single vine can produce as series of tubers such as this in the photo.
A unique figure emerges from the shape of this tuber resembling a mother with twin babies. The tuber weighs about three kilos.
Closeup of the arial tubers showing different sizes and shape.

Family Dioscoreaceae includes, ube (Dioscorea alata), tugi' (D. esculenta), and the poisonous nami (D. hispida). Planted and harvested at Don Antonio Heights, QC. Planting material was provided by the late Sister Francisca Rotor, SPC. Photos by AV Rotor

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Research

Dioscorea bulbifera, R. Br.; L.; Russ. ex Wall. India (Kumaon region, Western Himalayas): axillary tubers cut into pieces, steeped in water, and boiled prior to eating. Hawaii: aerial bulbs eaten.... Vernacular names – Hawaiian: Ho. English: Air Potato. (India) Kumaon region, Western Himalayas: Genthi. Ref. BHARGAVA, HANDY, NEAL, STURTEVANT. Internet

A word of caution. Among the species of Dioscorea - D. hispida or nami is poisonous.  Avoid this yam. Consult farmers in the area, better still your local agriculturist.  Nami is detoxyfied by natives to render it edible.  For the aerial yam or air potato it is best to peel the tuber deep enough to remove the sub-surface.  Grate or cut into pieces.  Boil thoroughly with pot open in the process. It is usually made into cake like suman (rice flour cake) or halaya (pasty ube). 

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