Kobe is the local name for Dioscorea bulbifera, known in English as the air yam or air potato. This plant is one of many types of climbing yams. The dark brown bulbils that grow from the leaf axils are the most commonly eaten part of the plant. They resemble small potatoes and weigh about 500 grams when mature. The green leaves are edible as well. The bulbils are toxic if eaten raw, so they must be soaked and then boiled or steamed. They have a high nutrient content, but a relatively mild, bland taste. Kobe yams are mainly grown in forested areas, because of their climbing habit. Once planted, the bulbils are ready for harvest after six to nine months.
The kobe yam is an indigenous plant, and is also a totem of one clan of the central Ugandan Baganda people. It is highly valued for providing food security among the Baganda and Basoga peoples. It is believed to have originated from the forest areas of central Uganda in the forests of Mabira in Mukono and Jinja Districts. Kobe yams are not cultivated for commercial sales, but for personal or family use. Since its cultivation is connected to forestry, as forest habitats are cut down, this plant too faces a risk of being lost. Because this food is a totem of one clan, there is a taboo for that particular population against eating this crop, despite its nutritious properties.