Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pretty picture: Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie' flower


We're trying to overwinter some of last spring's sweet potato vines. Mostly it's worked. There have been a few casualties. It's kind of a long story. In any case, they flower off and on, throughout the winter. And the summer. And the other seasons. 'Blackie' seems to do this more than the other variety we have, a chartreuse kind called 'Marguerite.' 'Blackie' also does a weird thing that kind of looks like a disease but I think is just edema or something:


It only seems to happen when the soil is really, really wet. Doesn't appear to be hurting the plant especially, though. We never got a definite diagnosis, but the timing looked more or less like edema or guttation or something along those lines. (I don't suppose anybody could confirm this for me?) If 'Marguerite' does this, it's much harder to see: I don't think I've ever spotted it on any other variety of sweet potato.

Although I knew that sweet potatoes and morning glories were both in the same genus (Ipomoea), it hadn't really struck me how much the flowers resemble one another until I started writing this post. This is kind of cool. I like when the real botanists and I agree on something.


7 comments:

Wicked Gardener said...

My 'Blackie' did that too this year. I trimmed it up and threw out the funky leaves. Good to know I'm not the only one. Mine has never flowered like that.

Jan said...

I have overwintered my sweet potato vines for years, but I have never had a flower show up. Glad to see what one looks like.

Jan
Always Growing

lancetx said...

I've got a piper nigrum that does something similar and have really wanted to know what it was. Most of it's are black on the undersides of the leaves and clear on the stems. They are very spherical and I kind of thought maybe it was just sap. I had never had a plant do this before, so it has concerned me.

Darla said...

I have never had flowers on my blackie, so jealous and I never thought of them as related to the morning glory either. Great post.

jodi said...

Good for you! I had planned to overwinter my Ipomoea 'Blackie' and 'Tricolour', but then life intervened and they got whalloped by frost. I did, however retrieve two impressive 'potato' tubers from the pots when I dumped them out, but didn't keep them to see what might happen. Bad gardener!

Zach said...

My 'Blackie' did a lot of blooming last summer. I took a bunch of cuttings and put them in water to root over winter so I could replant next year. Oddly enough, I noticed that my rootings in water are blooming now...

Anonymous said...

I had planted the ipomoea batatas or purple sweet potato vine last spring, it grew wonderfully. But I think I made an error. Should I have dug up the tubers for replanting next spring.