Tuber vs. Root Crop

Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes are both vegetables that are grown underground and are herbaceous perennials. Which means that all of the vegetation above ground dies, while the vegetables stay alive underneath to save energy for propagation for the next year. While being alike in the way they are flowering plants that are harvested underground, that is really the only way that the plants are related. Potatoes come from the family Solanaceae, also known as the Nightshade family, that has eggplant, hot peppers, tobacco and tomatoes in it. While the Sweet Potato comes from the Family Convolvulaceae, which is also called the Morning Glory family, which is a group of over 1600 species of flowering plants, vines, trees, shrubs and herbs. Water Spinach is the other main food crop that comes from this family.

Let’s get down to the science of the vegetables:

The Potato is a called Tuber because the part of the plant that you eat is an engorged part of stem, (or stolon, as they are called underground) that is used for starch storage.

The Sweet Potato is a Root Crop because the part of the plant that you are eating is an enlarged root that is also being used for energy storage.

Tuber= Enlarged Stolon, which is an underground stem.

Root Crop= Enlarged root

Both are used for energy storage!