Dioscorea bulbifera
[Air Potato, Air Yam]

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The vine rarely produce side branches. If the growing tip was damaged or cut off, a new growing tip will appear at the nearest axil. I had seen this vine in the wild many times but never once had I seen its flower. The numerous bulbils along the stem grow from the axils of the leaves without the need to produce flowers. In January 2014, I got to see a single elongated flower cluster from a plant that grew in my pot. But the flower never opened. I did not know what trigger off the flowering of the climber.

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The aerial tubers (bulbils) come in different sizes and some of them can be quite large. The bulbil appeared to undergo a dormant period before it started to sprout a single shoot. It started with an extensive network of roots along the surface of the soil which eventually disappeared when the underground roots developed.

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In August 2016, I harvested the bulbils and tubers from a plant had grew in my pot for slightly more than a year. A total of 26 bulbils and 2 mid-size underground tubers were collected. This was the same plant with the sprawling roots shown above.

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