Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatus) is an edible relative of the familiar blue-flowered weed called morning glory. It has heart-shaped leaves and spreads across the ground as a trailing plant that has small white or pink flowers.
It is also known by its Maori name of kumara. Although widely grown through the Pacific region, sweet potato is not native to the Pacific but has spread from Central and South America perhaps more than 1000 years ago.
Sweet potato is eaten roasted, boiled, steamed, or fried and can be used as a substitute for potato or pumpkin. Tubers are high in fibre and low in calories. Its low glycemic index (GI) makes it a useful food for diabetics. The leaves are also edible – pick young shoots as a spinach or silverbeet substitute.
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