Apache ate an indigenous sweet potato
Several POOF readers have expressed interest in growing and re-domesticating the indigenous sweet potato. We are gradually getting more information for you.
- The Apaches cultivated a “White Star Potato” which is actually a type of morning glory, indigenous to the Southern Piedmont and Blue Ridge Foothills. Perhaps the tubers of this plant were traded westward over time. The White Star Potato and Blue Star Potato Morning Glory species are endemic around an old Native American village site about a quarter mile north of my cabin.
2. The seeds of all members of the morning glory family, including cultivated sweet potatoes, are hallucinogenic.
3. Most Southeastern Morning Glories re-propagate each year via seed sprouting. Species of Morning Glories that are cousins of the South American sweet potato also propagate from tubers. They will be “bushy” shaped, whereas small tuber morning glories have long vines that can even establish new roots.
4. If experimenting with the consumption of indigenous sweet potato species be wary that some can have toxic levels of alkaloids. In other words, the tubers may also be hallucinogenic or even harmful to one or more human organs. Be careful.
5. It probably would be wise to check the PH of a wild tuber before giving any thought to eating it. The higher the PH number, the more likely the tuber is to have dangerous alkaloids. Tubers that have PH factors close to that of a cultivated sweet potato, are probably the safest.
6. A natural form of phenolphthalein in morning glory blooms determine their color. The redder the color of a morning glory flower, the more likely the tuber is to being safe. A blue or purple bloom could possibly produce a highly alkaline and toxic tuber.
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