Monday, January 5, 2015

Sweet Potato Vine

Ipomoea batatas
A tuberous rooted perennial vine ( annual in cold climates ), reaching up to 10 feet, that is native from southern Mexico to northern South America.
The leaves are ovate to palmately-lobed.
Sweet Potatos are often grown for their edible tubers. The commercial varieties typically do not have the splashy foliage but the tubers are a rich source of beta-carotine, Vitamin A, Vitamin B2 & B3, Vitamin C, Fiber and Calcium.
Hardy zones 9 to 12 ( as a perennial ) in full sun on light, well drained soil. Sweet Potato Vine can be grown in much of North America as an annual planted out after the threat of spring frosts has passed. If grown for their roots, they require a growing season of at least 120 days to achieve any significant harvest. It enjoys hot humid weather with warm nights. It is easy to grow and rarely bothered by insect pests or disease. Cultivars are easily grown from cuttings which readily root if stuck in a vase of fresh water.

* photo taken on Aug 15 2014 @ Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD

* photo taken on Aug 25 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

* photos taken on July 15 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on July 25 2015 @ Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

* photo taken on Sep 1 2016 in Columbia, MD


* photos taken on Aug 1 2013 in Stratford, Ontario

* photo taken on Aug 25 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

* photo taken on July 25 2015 @ Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Reaches up to 1 x 6 feet with intense greenish-yellow foliage.

* photo taken on Oct 11 2016 in Columbia, MD

Ipomoea leptophylla ( Bush Morning Glory )
A dense, bushy, mounding perennial, reaching up to 3 x 5 feet in size, that is native to grasslands and dunes in the central U.S. ( from central Montana to central South Dakota; south to southern New Mexico to central Texas ). The plant originated from a huge, tuberous taproot up to 4 feet long and 1 foot wide. Lateral roots branching out from it may reach up to 15 feet long.
The entire, willow-like, lance-shaped leaves, up to 6 x 0.3 inches in size, are silvery-green.
The large, pink, trumpet-shaped flowers, up to 4 x 3 inches in size, are borne during summer. They are open during the morning only.
Hardy zones 4 to 8 in full sun on gravelly or dry, well drained soil. It's massive tuberous root system contributes to it's superior drought tolerance. If severe drought occurs..water deeply but infrequently. It transplants poorly but is easily propagated from seed soaked in water for 8 hours before sowing during spring.

* USDA Plants database

Ipomoea pandurata ( Wild Potato Vine )
A herbaceous perennial vine, reaching up to 17 feet in length, that originates from a very large, deep root system. It is native to meadows and open woods in eastern North America ( from southeast Nebraska to northern Illinois to southern Michigan to the north shore of Lake Erie to Rochester, New York to Massachusetts; south to central Texas to central Florida ). It is endangered in Michigan, Ontario, New York State and Connecticut. In the Windsor/Essex County, Ontario region; it was very abundant at Point Pelee as well as on the Ohio shore during the 1800s. The large root resembles a yam and may weigh up to 20 pounds.
The deeply-cordate, ovate leaves are up to 6 x 3.2 inches in size.
The white ( often centered purple ) flowers, up to 3 inches wide, are borne late spring into early autumn.
The roots can be dug during summer and boiled or bakes like that of Sweet Potato. The tough outer skin needs to be peeled before eating. Seasoned and buttered it can be quite delicious.
Hardy zones 6 to 9 in full sun to partial shade on well drained soil.

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