Science fiction has a lot of entertainment value. Imaginative authors are able to take a collection of improbable characteristics and encapsulate them in one being, then place the subject in a foreign location.
Contact with the indigenous residents in the new environment always brings conflict. The alien is considered as an invader with aspirations of conquest, a desire for conquering and is nearly impossible to kill. This is great fun for the reader when the story is fiction.
Unfortunately, this is reality when it comes to Dioscorea bulbifera, better known as air potato. This pest is a difficult to control exotic plant which has caused severe damage to sections of the native environment and costs taxpayers millions of dollars a year to control in the southeastern U.S.