Sweet potato Facts

Sweet potato Facts
Sweet potato is herbaceous plant that belongs to the morning glory family. It originates from Central and South America. Cultivation of sweet potato started 8.000 years BC. It grows in the warm climate, on light, well-drained soil in areas that provide enough sun. Despite its name and similarities in appearance, sweet potato is not closely related with potato or yam. People cultivate sweet potato mainly as a source of food and in decorative purposes.
Interesting Sweet potato Facts:
Sweet potato is a vine that grows horizontally on the ground. It can reach 6 to 12 inches in height and 1 to 6 feet in length.
Sweet potato develops smooth or hairy stem that can be green, red or purple-colored.
Sweet potato develops fibrous roots that absorb nutrients from the ground and storage roots that collect food. Storage roots are edible and consumed as root vegetables around the world.
Storage roots are arranged in clusters. They can be oval, oblong, elliptic or irregularly shaped. Skin on the surface can be beige, yellow, orange, red, purple or brown. Flesh of sweet potato can be white, yellow, orange, red, pink or purple-colored. More intensely colored varieties of sweet potato have sweeter taste.
Leaves of sweet potato can be lobed, rounded, triangular, and kidney- or heart-shaped. Some types of sweet potato produce differently shaped leaves on the same stem. Leaves can be lime-green, pale green, golden, grey, maroon or purple colored.
Sweet potato produces bisexual, funnel-shaped flowers arranged in cyme (flat-topped inflorescence). Flowers can be whitish, lilac or pale purple colored.
Sweet potato blooms during the summer and produces large quantities of nectar which attracts bees, main pollinators of this plant.
Fruit of sweet potato is brown capsule with one to four brown or black seed. Seed can be irregular, angular or round-shaped.
Seed is covered with hard protective membrane on the surface that needs to be mechanically or chemically treated (process called scarification) to stimulate germination.
People often propagate sweet potato via stem and root cuttings to avoid germination-associated difficulties.
Sweet potato is rich source of dietary fibers, carbohydrates and vitamin A. It also contains decent amount of vitamins of the B group and minerals such as manganese and potassium.
Sweet potato can be baked, cooked, fried, microwaved and consumed as an ingredient of various savory or sweet dishes.
Juice extracted from the sweet potato can produce hundreds of dyes (shades from purple to black) when combined with lime juice. Produced dyes are used in textile industry.
Some sorts of sweet potato can be used for the production of rubber, ink and glue.
In the warm climate, sweet potato grows as perennial plant (lifespan: over 2 years). In cold climate, it grows as annual plant (lifespan: one year).

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