The sweet potato. This crop originated in tropical South America. It was taken by Polynesians to Fiji and New Zealand, where it is known by its Peruvian name 'kumara'. The Portuguese took it to Africa and the Far East where it is known by its Caribbean name of 'batatas', which is the origin of the English word 'potato'. And the Spanish took it from Acapulco to the Philippines where it is known by its Mexican name of 'camote'. It is now one of the more important tropical food crops. Although it is cultivated as clones, the crop sets true seed freely, and farmers often keep self-sown seedlings as new cultivar. The harvestable product is a tuber which, in the USA, is incorrectly called a yam. This is an excellent crop for farmer-participation schemes, and for amateur breeders .
The progenitors of sweet potato are extinct. Ipomea purpurea is the morning glory. Irish famine
See: Hungry forties.
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