We are all too familiar with the tubers of the sweet potato. Most of sweet potatoes we see in the market have a brownish skin. Now, there are tubers that possess a purple skin which are from Japan where some people are crazy over them due to some reported health benefits after consuming them. The leaves which are very nutritious can be bought from the local market where they can be stir-fried and eaten like a leafy vegetable.
The sweet potato is scientifically known as Ipomoea batatas and is a cousin of the ornamental flowering vine, the morning glory. For some people, it is hard to draw the relationship between these two plants. One common feature between the both of them is the similarity of the shape of the leaves.
Another feature lies in the flowers. Most of us would have seen the trumpet-like flowers of the morning glory vine, but have anyone seen those of the sweet potato? As I was walking through my community garden, I was surprised to see my sweet potato cultivar ‘Blackie’ blooming. As I have read earlier, the facts coincided with what I saw – the sweet potato’s flowers resemble those of the morning glory and are violet in colour.
I was indeed surprised that my garden’s sweet potato vines actually flowered. Because the young shoots of these plants are regularly harvested for food, I thought the vines will never get a chance to grow long enough to mature and produce flower buds. Perhaps this vine managed to escape!