HORT410 - Vegetable Crops
Sweetpotato - Notes
Common name: sweetpotato.
Latin name: Ipomoea batatas L. (syn. Batatas edulis).
Family: Convolvulaceae [Convolvulaceae Images] or morning glory family.
Cultivars differ for ploidy level: 2n = 30 (diploid); 2n = 40 (tetraploid); 2n = 90, (hexaploid)).
Harvested organ: swollen, tuber-like roots.
Origin: native to the American tropics; once an important component of the Aztec diet. Introduced to Europe in the 16th century; later spread to Asia and N. America.
Sweet potato history (TAMU)
Rich in vitamin A.
Varieties distinguished by leaf shapes, skin color and flesh color.
Cultivation is concentrated in the southern parts of the U.S.
Most sweetpotatoes are propagated either by planting sprouts that rise from the roots, or by rooting vine cuttings.
The sprouts, slips or draws, are obtained by planting stored tuberous roots in a hotbed, and are cut for transplanting to the production field when they have six to eight well-developed leaves and a good root system.
Warm season: optimum growth temperature: 21 to 29 C; chilling injury occurs when soil temperatures drop below 10 C.
Harvested 130 to 150 days after transplanting.
Mechanically harvested much like Irish potatoes, but are more suceptible to bruising.
Harvested tubers are often 'cured' for several days at 29 C and 85 to 90% relative humidity to promote suberization and healing of bruises and/or cuts.
The cured tubers are stored at 13 to 15 C and 85 to 90% relative humidity.
If properly cured and stored, disease-free roots can remain edible for 6 to 7 months.
(see: ID-56: Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers 2003 - Sweet Potato (PURDUE) [pdf] for sweetpotato varieties, plant production, transplanting and spacing, fertilizing, harvesting and storage, and disease, weed and insect control recommendations for Midwest grown sweetpotatoes)
Sources of information:
Nonnecke, I.L. "Vegetable Production", Van Nostrand Reinhold, NY (1989).
Phillips, R., Rix, M. "The Random House Book of Vegetables", Random House, NY (1993).
Lorenz, O.A. Sweet potato. In "The Software Toolworks Multimedia Encyclopedia", Version 1.5, Grolier, Inc. (1992).
Hall, M.R., Phatak, S.C. Sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam. In "Genetic Improvement of Vegetable Crops", (ed. G. Kalloo, B.O. Bergh), Pergamon Press, Oxford, U.K., pp. 693-708 (1993).
Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for Commercial Growers, ID-56, eds. R. Foster, D. Egel, E. Maynard, R. Weinzierl, H. Taber, L.W. Jett, B. Hutchinson, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, 2003.
Kotecha, P.M., Kadam, S.S. Sweet potato. In "Handbook of Vegetable Science and Technology: Production, Composition, Storage, and Processing", (ed. D.K. Salunkhe, S.S. Kadam), Marcel Dekker, Inc., NY, pp. 71-97 (1998).