Skip to Main Content

Traditional Pacific Island Crops: Sweet Potato

The goal of the Traditional Pacific Island Crops Web site is to provide organized access to quality, free Web resources that provide information on these twelve important traditional Pacific Island crops. This is not intended to be a comprehensive listing

Key Web Resources for Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas)


sweet potato tubers


The common English name for this crop is spelled sweet potato or sweetpotato. The botanical name is Ipomoea batatas. In the US, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are sometimes called “yams,” but this name is more properly applied to the “true” yam, various species in the genus Dioscorea.

Although wild forms of sweet potato are not known to exist today, Central America and Peru are generally accepted as possible centers of origin for this crop. Sweet potato cultivation in the eastern and central Pacific predates European contact by several hundred years, possibly occurring as early as 1000 CE. This movement of sweet potato from the Americas to the Pacific islands has been the subject of much discussion.

Recent archaeological work indicates possible contacts between Polynesians and indigenous peoples in several locations along the western coast of the Americas. Sweet potatoes may have been introduced into the Pacific as a result of these contacts and subsequently spread throughout Polynesia. Regardless of its original means of dispersal, sweet potatoes remain an important food crop throughout the Pacific and in many other developing countries.

IN THIS BOX are links to COMPREHENSIVE or OVERVIEW web resources on this crop.

For web resources on SPECIFIC TOPICS, select the appropriate category in the BOX BELOW.

Specific Topics for Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas)

Need More Help?

Didn't find the sweet potato information you were looking for?

Email your question to the reference librarian


AgNIC logo                   UHM Library Logo