Friday, 8 July 2011

Sweet for my sweet (potato)

Sweet Potato is , surprisingly, more closely related to one of the less popular plants regularly found in our gardens than we think. Now, don't be misled by the common name. That's always a mistake. Ipomoea batatas is distantly related to because they are both from the Solanales order but they are not family. The members of the same family are all Convolvulaceae. If that sounds familiar, think of Convulvus, the climbing Morning Glory. Also, the white flowered close cousin, Bindweed. Yes, BINDWEED!!
Sweet Potatoes are closely related to the pernicious strangling weed Bindweed. 
When you compare leaves and flowers, you can see the link but the tubers are the main difference.
Morning Glory


The wide trumpets and the glossy heat shaped leaves, the twining stems. All are common in all three plants.
Sweet Potatoes
The resemblance to the common potato is very slight, mainly in the edible tubers. Beyond that, there are very few similarities. A much smaller trumpet flower but no climbing.No heart shaped leaves either sadly, as I'm sure they'd make spuds more popular in the garden.

Anyway, why the interest in Sweet Potatoes?
Because I've just started growing them!

1 comment:

CAG said...

Interesting read,thanks for posting.

I too am trying sweet potato this year (2 plants in pots) hoping to get some cuttings through winter for cultivating & swapping next year.

Mmmmm roasted sweet potatos... nom nom nomm