Origin, Distribution and Economic Importance

  • G. Loebenstein

The Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.) (Batatas an Arawak name) was originally domesticated at least 5000 years ago in tropical America (Austin, 1988; Yen, 1982). Based on the analysis of key morphological characters of sweetpotato and the wild Ipomoea species, Austin (1988) postulated that sweetpotato originated in the region between the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and the Orinoco River in Venezuela. Using molecular markers the highest diversity was found in Central America, supporting the hypothesis that Central America is the primary center of diversity and most likely the center of origin of sweetpotato (Huang and Sun, 2000; Zhang et al. 2000). Columbus in1492 brought it to Europe and Portuguese explorers of the sixteenth century took it to Africa, India, Southeast Asia and the East Indies. Spanish ships brought sweetpotatoes from Mexico to the Philippines in the 16th century.


Sweet Potato Yucatan Peninsula Ipomoea Batata Yellow River Valley Health Conscious Consumer 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Loebenstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Agricultural Research OrganizationIsrael

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