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Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas) is an excellent staple crop that is traditionally propagated by cloning superior individuals. It is a vining, perennial tuber crop with a high starch content, and is grown in warm-temperate and tropical climates. It is in the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae).
The origin of the sweet potato is still being debated, but the majority of experts accept that this crop originated in Central America, where it was domesticated around 5,000 years ago. It had spread to the Caribbean, and South America, by 2500 BCE, and to Polynesia by at least 1400 CE. Sweet potatoes arrived in Europe around 1500, and in East Asia around 1600. By the time Europeans arrived in North America, the native people of the southeast US were already growing sweet potatoes, and the crop has continued to be an essential staple in that region ever since.