Invasive species threaten Florida

Eustis residents collect air potatoes. The Lake County Water Authority and <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="ORGOV0000120" title="St. Johns River Water Management District" href="/topic/environmental-issues/water/st.-johns-river-water-management-district-ORGOV0000120.topic">St. Johns River Water Management District</a>'s Watershed Action Volunteer program recruited volunteers to help collect invasive air potatoes at Sawgrass Island Preserve near <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PLGEO100100405020000" title="Eustis" href="/topic/us/florida/lake-county-%28florida%29/eustis-PLGEO100100405020000.topic">Eustis</a>. The plants, Dioscorea bulbifera, are very aggressive and can kill large trees by blocking sunlight and reducing their ability to create food through photosynthesis. Each winter, as the vines become dormant, they drop untold numbers of potato-like tubers on the ground, setting the stage for new plants in the spring.

( ORLANDO SENTINEL FILE / January 13, 2009 )

Eustis residents collect air potatoes. The Lake County Water Authority and St. Johns River Water Management District's Watershed Action Volunteer program recruited volunteers to help collect invasive air potatoes at Sawgrass Island Preserve near Eustis. The plants, Dioscorea bulbifera, are very aggressive and can kill large trees by blocking sunlight and reducing their ability to create food through photosynthesis. Each winter, as the vines become dormant, they drop untold numbers of potato-like tubers on the ground, setting the stage for new plants in the spring.

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