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North Carolina State Vegetable:

Sweet potatos freshly dug - click to see all state food symbolsF
Freshly dug sweet potato (Ipomoea batatasL) by Miya on Wikipedia - published
under terms of the GNU Free Documentation License Version 1.2 or later.
See All Food & Agricultural Symbols - Food Holidays.

Sweet Potato

North Carolina designated the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) as the official state vegetable in 1995. Native Americans were growing sweet potatos in North Carolina long before European colonization.

North Carolina is the largest producer of sweet potatos in the U.S., harvesting over four billion pounds of the vegetable in 1989. The sweet potato is high in vitamins A and C and low in fat.

The large, starchy, sweet-tasting tuberous roots of the sweet potato can be prepared in a variety of ways including baked, french-fried, and candied. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens.

Candied sweet potatoes - click to see all food symbols
Candied sweet potatoes - photo courtesy Ontario recipe photos.
See All Food & Agricultural Symbols - Food Holidays.

There are about 50 genera and more than 1000 species of this family, but only Ipomoea batatas is a crop plant (grown as an important root vegetable). The genus Ipomoea also includes several garden flowers called morning glories (the blossom of the sweet potato looks very much like a morning glory):

Sweet potato blossom - click to see all food symbols
Sweet potato plant in bloom - photo by Danielm on Wikipedia - published under terms of the GNU Free Documentation License Version 1.2 or later. See All Food & Agricultural Symbols.

The sweet potato is only distantly related to the potato (Solanum tuberosum). Sweet potatos are often called yams in parts of North America, although they are only very distantly related to the other plant that is widely known as yams (in the Dioscoreaceae family) which is native to Africa and Asia.

Source:
Sweet Potato - North Carolina State Vegetable: NC.gov
Links:
All Food & Agricultural Symbols - Food Holidays

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