Friday, September 23, 2011

Home Grown: Is it a Yam or a Sweet Potato?

While they are often mistaken for one another, yams and sweet potatoes are two totally different plants. The yam includes various species of the genus Dioscorea that are native to Africa. The Sweet Potato, Ipomoea batatas, is native to tropical portions of Central and South America, including the Caribbean.

Botanically, yams and sweet potatoes are not very close relatives. The yam is more closely related to lilies than the sweet potato, and the sweet potato is more closely related to morning glories than potatoes.

Yams are monocots and sweet potatoes are dicots. In the plant world, this is a fundamental difference not only in how certain structures appear, but also includes differences in the biochemical reactions that occur in plants from each group.

Columbus was reportedly responsible for spreading the sweet potato throughout the New World, including the present-day United States. Spanish explorers carried the sweet potato everywhere, even as far as Asia. The Portuguese carried sweet potatoes even farther, into India.

Continued at...
Is it a Yam or a Sweet Potato?

1 comment:

Healthy Educator said...

i used to think yams and sweet potatoes were the same thing. thanks for posting this blog.