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Chinese Mountain Yam Aerial Tubers

2000 Aerial Tubers, CMYA_AT-2000 $320.00 Out of stock

currently unavailable Chinese mountain yam is one of many tubers grown commercially in China and used extensively as a source of starch. It is a common crop available here in the U.S. in most international food stores. In the past it was considered more of an ornamental plant under the name Cinnamon vine which best describes the beautiful fragrance of the purple flowers. It is only the female plant that is found in the U.S. and likely only a few clones are available. 

The Mountain yam also produces aerial tubers which grow along the vine. These tubers will reach up to 1/2 inch in size and ca n be picked and added to soups and stews. If the tubers are left on, they will drop to the ground and either freeze to mush in the winter or grow into a new plant the following spring. The in ground tubers are best harvested in 1-2 years. If you use a weed barrier under the root or a geo-textile grow bag, then it is easier to harvest. It is the aerial tubers that do not have a market as they are more perishable yet these little nuggets of goodness are super easy to cook and just delicious lightly cooked and a little butter and salt.  They are great stir fried in ghee or sesame oil and are easily digestible. 

You can also grow them to enormous size reaching 5-10 pounds each but rarely does that happen in Michigan as Michigan is a bit too cold for that to happen. You may see the gigantic roots on youtube that are grown in pallet sized crates before extraction. That too is not possible in Michigan unless grown in a polyhouse. However, that being said there is a company in Germany that produces from the aerial tubers long round tubers using all above ground techniques in poly tunnels making the tubers perfectly cylindrically shaped. These are then fed through a chipper and then fried. There are a lot of culinary possibilities with this tuber.

Mixed Aerial Tubers of Japanese, Ranger and Farm  These are the most productive and have larger aerial tubers.  When I pack them some have small tubers in them but they are just not as developed. This is because the season is shorter here and they do not develop as large as they could be or they produce large and small tubers on the same vine. This is normal with this species. It is not an indicator that those will be all small aerial tuber types. 

Plant Specs
Genus & Species Dioscorea batatas
Hardiness minus 20 F is the maximum in ground hardiness. Can be damaged or destroyed in zone 5 and is short lived in colder zones.
Height (ft) 20 ft. or so. Normally will trail upwards.
Soil Grows best in sandy loam or clay loam soils where roots are not impeded by rocks.
Climate Zone 5ish to zone 9.
Ease of Cultivation Anyone can grow. Yields not a problem. Best to have a simple method of extraction like a grow bag with handles in the ground as the root goes deep and starts formation at about 6-8 inches deep in the soil. We use a drain spade to harvest to prevent cutting them off prematurely. The aerial tubers drop to form new roots but often freeze into mush if not harvested prior to winter. To me and others, it is the aerial tubers that really are the thing to harvest. They cook quick, are easy to collect and are totally delicious. But the market says otherwise and it is the large in ground tubers that you find in international food stores for sale.