Yam vs. Sweet Potato? - Knowledgebase Question

Portland, OR
Question by TMHarding
May 21, 2000
Botanically speaking, what is the difference between a potato and a sweet potato? I know that they are different, but am not really sure how different.


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Answer from NGA
May 21, 2000

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A sweet potato, botanical name Ipomoea, is a subtropical vine and a member of the morning glory family. A yam, botanically known as Dioscorea, is also tropical in nature, and is grown in several countries for food and the medicinal properties they contain. We find both yams and sweet potatoes at grocery stores, and they are often used interchangably in recipes.

Other than their botanical distinction, there is very little difference in flavor or texture between yams and sweet potatoes.

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