07/21/2009 Flower of the Day: Wild Potato Vine

Wild Potato Vine - Ipomoea pandurata
Wild Potato Vine – Ipomoea pandurata

You look at this photo and you think “Morning Glory.”  And you’re right.  It is a member of the morning-glory family – Convolvulaceae – as well as the core morning-glory genus – Ipomoea.   But the common name “Wild Potato Vine” tells us a little more about the plant.

While quite recognizable  as a morning glory, Ipomoea pandurata has the common names “Wild Potato Vine” and “man of the earth” – this latter being the “national common name” recognized by the US Department of Agriculture National Resources Conservation Service.  These names refer to the edible root from which the vine, which can be up to 15′ long, grows.  It is reported to taste like a slightly bitter sweet potato.  That isn’t surprising when you learn the scientific name of the sweet potato – Ipomoea batatas.  Yep, the sweet potato you and I eat is a morning glory.
By the way, most folks who are observant know why the morning glory has that name.  The next photo is of a vine (or two) taken in the morning. 
Wild Potato Vine - Ipomoea pandurata
Wild Potato Vine – Ipomoea pandurata
The following picture is of one of those clusters of flowers taken in the afternoon.  Quite clear why it’s “morning glory” and not “afternoon glory,” isn’t it?
Wild Potato Vine - Afternoon; no glory.

Wild Potato Vine - Afternoon; no glory.

 

 References:

http://plantanswers.tamu.edu/vegetables/sweetpotato.html

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-23-a.html

A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America by Lee Allen Peterson, Roger Tory Peterson P.20

 

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