Country of origin: Puerto Rico
Plant: Sweet Potato Plant
The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) belongs to the family Convolvulaceae, whose large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are a root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. The origin and domestication of sweet potato is thought to be in either Central America or South America, with sweet potato remnants dating as far back as 8000 BC in Peru. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of sweet potatoes, only a small handful are edible and many are poisonous. The plant is an herbaceous perennial vine, bearing alternate heart-shaped or lobed leaves and medium-sized trumpet-shaped flowers. The edible tuberous root is long and tapered, with a smooth skin whose color ranges between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige. Its flesh ranges from beige through white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange, and purple. Sweet potato varieties with white or pale yellow flesh are less sweet and moist than those with red, pink or orange flesh.