Sweet Potato, the name of a trailing vine and of its edible, underground storage roots. Sweet potatoes are rich in carbohydrates and may also contain substantial amounts of vitamins A and C. The sweet potato is used mainly as a table vegetable, but is also used as livestock feed. The vine portion may also be used as livestock feed.Sweet potatoes are vegetables with large, fleshy roots.
It is not known definitely where the sweet potato originated, but most authorities believe it is of tropical American origin. In Latin America, the sweet potato is called batata, from which came the name potato. The sweet potato, however, is not related to the Irish, or white, potato or to the yam, though sweet potatoes are often called yams in the southern United States.
The sweet potato plant is a perennial, but is usually grown as an annual. Since the sweet potato vine in cultivation seldom produces seed, it is usually propagated by vegetative meanseither by planting leafy stem cuttings or by planting shoots that grow from roots that have been saved from the previous year's crop. Depending on climate and the variety of plant used, a crop takes from four to eight months to mature.
Sweet potatoes may be roundish or elongated and from about 6 to about 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) long. The outer skin is either whitish or reddish. The inner flesh can be white or yellow. Varieties include Yellow Jersey and Gold Skin (with a rather dry, mealy flesh) and Puerto Rico and Nancy Hall (with a juicy flesh). Sweet potatoes are susceptible to rot diseases and to frost, and do not store well.
Sweet potatoes are grown in most tropical and temperate areas of the world. They are particularly abundant in Japan, in tropical areas of Africa, and in the tropical islands of the Pacific.
The sweet potato is Ipomoea batatas of the morning glory family, Convolvulaceae.