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Ornamental Sweet Potato Tuber

 
Cynthia Buckingham
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I planted real sweet potatoes with good success. I also planted an ornamental one in a pot for the greenery. However this plant has also produced a good sized tuber, maybe more than one. It doesn't seem as red. I have not dug it up yet. We have yet to have a freeze. Does anyone know if this tuber is edible? As in good for a human being?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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The ornamental sweet potato plant (Ipomoea butatas) does produce edible sweet potato tubers (they are not very palatable and fairly bitter).
It might be a nice experiment to cross pollinate with the regular edible variety and see if you could get a good looking foliage along with decent taste in the tuber. I would expect it to take about three pollination cycles to get close.

Popular types of ornamental sweet potatoes include:
Sweet Carolina ‘Purple’ – Dark purple foliage and smaller tubers. Also a less vigorous grower. Suitable for small containers.
Blackie – Nearly black (actually dark purple) foliage with deep cut leaves.
Marguerite – Bold, chartreuse green foliage with heart-shaped leaves.
Tricolor – less vigorous grower, with small pointy leaves that are multicolored or variegated in shades of green, pink and white.

Redhawk
 
William Bronson
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My question is how does the foliage taste compared to the none ornamental varieties?
 
Cynthia Buckingham
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Thanks so much. I guess I will be using the regular ones for Thanksgiving. I accidentally cut into a few as I was digging them up. Can I eat them right away or do they have to be cured to eat?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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My collaboration network is using ornamental sweet potatoes in breeding projects. Because we have found "ornamental" varieties that flower and set seed more readily than "food" varieties. They produce edible tubers. We eat the tubers any time after harvest without regard to curing. 

Seed grown sweet potatoes:


Ornamental sweet potatoes:
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Thanks for that info Kola. This is the sort of thing I love about permies.

Redhawk
 
Cynthia Buckingham
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Great. Now I can use the cut tubers fast so they do not spoil. So much to be thankful for!!!
 
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