The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are an important root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of Convolvulaceae, I. batatas is the only crop plant of major importance—some others are used locally, but many are actually poisonous. The sweet potato is only distantly related to the potato (Solanum tuberosum).
Although the soft, orange sweet potato is often mislabeled a "yam" in parts of North America, the sweet potato is botanically very distinct from a genuine yam, which is native to Africa and Asia and belongs to the monocot family Dioscoreaceae. To prevent confusion, the United States Department of Agriculture requires sweet potatoes labeled as "yams" to also be labeled as "sweet potatoes".
The genus Ipomoea that contains the sweet potato also includes several garden flowers called morning glories, though that term is not usually extended to Ipomoea batatas. Some cultivars of Ipomoea batatas are grown as ornamental plants; the name "tuberous morning glory" may be used in a horticultural context.
The plant is a herbaceous perennial vine, bearing alternate heart-shaped or palmately lobed leaves and medium-sized sympetalous 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.
In certain parts of the world, sweet potatoes are locally known by other names, including: camote, kamote, goguma, man thet, ubi jalar, ubi keladi, shakarkand, satsuma imo, batata or el boniato. In New Zealand English, the Māori term kūmara is commonly used.
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||360 kJ (86 kcal)|
|- Starch||12.7 g|
|- Sugars||4.2 g|
|- Dietary fibre||3.0 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||709 μg (89%)|
|- beta-carotene||8509 μg (79%)|
|- lutein and zeaxanthin||0 μg|
|Thiamine (vit. B1)||0.1 mg (9%)|
|Riboflavin (vit. B2)||0.1 mg (8%)|
|Niacin (vit. B3)||0.61 mg (4%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.8 mg (16%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.2 mg (15%)|
|Folate (vit. B9)||11 μg (3%)|
|Vitamin C||2.4 mg (3%)|
|Vitamin E||0.26 mg (2%)|
|Calcium||30.0 mg (3%)|
|Iron||0.6 mg (5%)|
|Magnesium||25.0 mg (7%)|
|Phosphorus||47.0 mg (7%)|
|Potassium||337 mg (7%)|
|Sodium||55 mg (4%)|
|Zinc||0.3 mg (3%)|
|Percentages are relative to
US recommendations for adults.
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Famous quotes containing the words potato and/or sweet:
“The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But Ive no spade to follow men like them.”
—Seamus Heaney (b. 1939)
“Cried out the whole night long,
Crying amid the glittering sea,
Naming it with ecstatic breath,
Because it had such dignity,
By the sweet name of Death.”
—William Butler Yeats (18651939)