The Top 5 Most Invasive Plants Found in the Nature Coast

Air Potato, Dioscorea bulbifera

A native to tropical Asia, air potato, Dioscorea bulbifera, was introduced to Florida in 1905. Due to its ability to displace native species and disrupt natural processes such as fire and water flow, air potato has been listed as one of Florida's most invasive plant species since 1993, and was placed on the Florida Noxious Weed List by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 1999.

Air potato can grow extremely quickly, roughly 8 inches per day. It typically climbs to the tops of trees and has a tendency to take over native plants. New plants develop from bulbils that form on the plant, and these bulbils serve as a means of dispersal. The aerial stems of air potato die back in winter, but resprouting occurs from bulbils and underground tubers. The primary means of spread and reproduction are via bulbils. The smallest bulbils make control of air potato difficult due to their ability to sprout at a very small stage.

Japanese Climbing Fern, Lygodium japonicum

Brazilian Pepper, Schinus terebinthifolius

Chinese Tallow, Sapium sebiferum

Cogongrass, Imperata cylindrica