Dioscorea alata, commonly known as white winged edible yam, produces small aerial tubers called bulbils that can be used for propagation. These bulbils are small, round, and have a diameter of around 1-2 cm. They are usually brown or black and are found growing on the vines of the plant.
The bulbils of Dioscorea alata can be used as an alternative method for propagating the plant instead of using seeds or cuttings. They are planted directly into the soil, usually in the spring when the soil temperature is warm enough for growth. The bulbils will then develop roots and shoots, eventually growing into mature yam plants.
Propagation through bulbils has several advantages over other methods. For one, it can be more efficient since one plant can produce many bulbils, allowing for a larger yield. Additionally, using bulbils can help preserve genetic diversity since each bulbil contains genetic information from the parent plant.
Dioscorea alata bulbils are also edible and can be used in cooking, although they are not as commonly consumed as the yam tubers themselves. They have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor and can be boiled, roasted, or fried.
Overall, the bulbils of Dioscorea alata are a useful and versatile part of the plant, both for propagation and as a source of food.