though they are not at all related, one is a vine and the other one a sedge, they both seem to have the pleasant nutty flavor. I will describe dioscorea as a pleasant nutty-starchy, while tigernut is more of nutty-creamy
i like them both! but if it is question of size, it is no contest as dioscorea can easily reach 3" or more while tigernuts are usually just an inch at the largest.
dioscorea is used to make icecream due to its thick consistency, while tigernuts are better as milkshake drinks due to its flavor. Would probably make delicious ice cream too
My cinnamon yam has grown into an area where digging it up without destroying it would be extremely difficult. As a result I’ve never dug it up and its easily 10 years old.
Every other year it rains down hundreds of “air potatoes” in the fall. They are small, maybe similar in size to a plain M&M but rounder. They make a crunchy, though mostly tasteless addition to salads for us.
I’m in Michigan (though a very temperate area) and its grown without much attention for quite a long time. It climbs one of my cherry trees and adds to the tree’s canopy without damaging the tree.
We like them and my wife is saddened when we run out of the little buggers…
dioscorea is quite a diverse genus, and diversity among members of same species is also quite high. In the island of luzon, philippines, where i used to grow a few unnamed varieties(perhaps already named in some podunk villages), there was this variety that i let climb up a wall of adobe bricks. The stems that got insinuated in the wall’s crevices woud respond by forming tumor-like bulbs. Grotesque, cancer-like masses which were the deepest of purples have seen and delicious when cooked into chunky yam preserves. My sister ate a cauldron of it. There was no way could identify the variety(not even the species), as the tubers that i cooked(and planted) were supposedly harvested from the boondocks by the seller. There are so many varieties of the presumed D. alata’s or D. bulbiferas, and those were obtained just from the island of luzon. The species alata is generally considered superior to bulbifera, but alata’s can also produce “air potatoes”, just as bulbifera’s produces underground tubers. Moreover, that country has 7000+ islands, and Indonesia has way more. Plus, there are african bulbiferas too, so genetic testing is the costly–but only way- of coming up with a catalog.
thank you both for the description and information.
jujubemulberry you have a lot of experience with the dioscorea plants.
Do you know if there any that form large air potatoes ?
do the air potatoes taste like tubers in the earth?
I find the plants very interesting because they produce similar tubers above the ground as well as those under the ground
even if had a lot of experience, wouldn’t really be able to share sound advice as the cultivars/species i dabbled with were random unnamed ones that i chanced upon when i lived in the tropics. People there have been growing yams but was impossible for the locals to tell with any certainty what they have, as deliveries are likely a mixture of yams from different farmers. The asian yams produce air-tubers that are about the size of a small to medium albeit a bit more warty!
i have never grown yams in usa, and if there might be starter tubers being sold in ebay, it would be difficult to tell if those are from the philippines or indonesia, etc. And there are those from australia and africa too.
at this point, it would be advisable to grow as many cultivars you could get your hands on and just isolate the ones that produce good tubers.
the caveat is some dioscorea can be weedy if grown in relatively warm areas of usa. As with certain fruit trees, a weedy, hard-to-kill cultivar is desirable only if the produce is high quality and growing on its own roots.
good luck and keep everyone posted! Growing desirable dioscorea is practically unheard of in usa and europe(partly because of the weedy dioscorea that have invaded parts of florida) so any feedback would be helpful.