Author Topic: Ipomoea pandurata, aka man root, man of the earth, wild sweet potato  (Read 747 times)

Chance

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This video has some good tips for a veggie graft healing chamber: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Mxy0HfgpKY

reed

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That's all very interesting. It had occurred to me to use glue but I was afraid of getting some of it between the graft which I figured wouldn't be good. The one video showed a little clip that looked like I might be able to make with a piece of drinking straw.

What I'm thinking now is I want to basically make a root to root graft with a chunk of batatas, perhaps containing one little bud on top of pandurata. I don't care if it grows much, just that the two heal together into one, maybe even letting it go mostly dormant over the winter. This might not be the best time of year to try such a thing but if it did work it would have all winter to become one plant and when new sprouts appeared on the batatas next spring the genetic transfer, if any should be maximized.

If the fused root is healthy enough next spring I might be able to remove any growing shoots and force new ones to sprout off the batatas. With the already known tendency of mutation in batatas who knows what might come from it. One paper I read speculated that the reason batatas does that is that unlike a potato tuber a sweet potato root does not have eyes. When it sprouts a slip it has to conjure it up from cells not generally used for that purpose in most plants. That particular paper was a little above my pay grade, when I come across it again I'll post a link.

Went out last evening and collected up some candidate batatas root and trunk sections. I figure it is important to try to match diameter as closely as possible so the respective types of tissue join each other correctly. I'll have to experiment on how to securely fasten them together. The glue method looks easy but still a little concerned about using it.

Not sure about needing the healing chamber, what I have in mind is so very different from normal vegetable plant grafts. I guess it's more like woody grafts like for fruit trees. Sweet potatoes like it hot though so if I put a plastic cover on I shouldn't need to worry too much about overheating.

 

 
« Last Edit: 2019-10-10, 04:29:22 AM by reed »

Chance

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Yea the glue technique seems most ideal with seedlings, but perhaps it can work ok in somewhat larger diameter plant stems too.  If you search grafting clips on eBay you can get them pretty cheap.   

Iíll be interested to see updates on your experiments in the future.  Iím sure youíre right that batatas has more innate plasticity potential, are therefore likely more susceptible to graft induced variation that pandurata.  That said cold hardiness is a complex characteristic so if it can be transferred might take generations of grafts.  In any case, Iím sure youíll try some pollinations with pandurata pollen on these batatas graftlings relatively early on.  It would be great if it could take the interspecific seed potential up from 2%.

You might be right about not needing the healing chamber, since youíre working with plants with more lignin than veggie seedlings.  Still even a crude humidity dome might be a good idea for a short period
« Last Edit: 2019-10-18, 12:39:04 PM by Chance »

Chance

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Here is a second year root I just dug.  Easier to harvest than I suspected even in poor soil.  Dug it to 8 inches on one side then pulled it. 

Richard Watson

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Interesting root, that would like growing in my soft loam soil
Changeable year round climate with warming winters - just under 500mm average yearly rainfall. 20 years of soil improvements plus sub soil top soil reversal means my garden beds are about half metre deep. Below that is 100's of metres of alluvial out wash from the Southern
alps.

reed

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Yep they are interesting looking. Good to know that the big root sections tend to from right under the stem, so you wouldn't have to dig giant holes to find them.

I haven't got around to trying more grafts yet, probably do that today. I can hardly believe it but so far the one I did is still alive.
« Last Edit: 2019-10-20, 05:17:32 AM by reed »

Chance

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Well I cooked it up tonight.  Followed the recipe online from the dewberry blog.  Three total boils with two changes of water, for close to an hour.  Then roasted for 30 minutes.  Still had a bit of the bitter/acrid principle so I didnít eat it.  I mustíve done something wrong because my root was younger than the one from the blog.  Got to fully clear the bitterness with boiling, maybe steaming would work better. 


reed

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Interesting, I didn't detect any bitterness or unpleasant taste at all in the little piece I ate raw. Like I said it was mostly tasteless. Maybe variation there?

Chance

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How old was the piece you ate raw?  There may be  a physiological change when the plant reaches flowering age.

It would be great if itís natural variation.  It has been made to taste good so maybe I didnít boil long enough. 

The related Ipomoea macrorhiza can supposedly be eaten raw and has a much more diggable shape.  Itís hardy to at least zone 6.  Leptophylla and pandurata though are hardy to 3b/4a. 




reed

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Lets see, I think I started seeds in April so it was only about five months old, hadn't even been through a winter let alone get to flowering age.

Chance

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Reed, thats consistent with other reports Iíve read, the first year roots can be eaten raw so are free of ďtoxicity.Ē

Future experiments to try.  Steaming the roots to see if this can more quickly clear the bitter/acrid principle.  I cut the top off root to propagate with.  Perhaps an older root piece can generate a new root of a decent size relatively fast.  Since youíre setting it back in developmental time perhaps it would have less bitterness.  This cultural aspect is an important part of the influencing plants in the way we would like them to be, whether we call that domestication or not.

reed

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Reed, thats consistent with other reports I’ve read, the first year roots can be eaten raw so are free of “toxicity.”

Maybe a person could establish a permanent patch for the sole purpose of harvesting seeds and plant them every year to harvest the roots like an annual. A cross between them and batatas handled like that would be interesting.  Well, I reckon a cross will be at very least interesting no matter how it turns out.

I didn't know about the toxicity issue, glad it is detectable as a taste so I don't have to worry about eating too much of it. Kind of like that awful flavor of green potato skin I reckon, one little hint of that and I spit it out.

Chance

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Reed, Iím using toxicity loosely, itís probably a purgative effect as bitter components frequently are, such as other Ipomoea.  I donít think itís toxic in a dangerous sense...thereís a paper somewhere looking at pandurata edibility and the conclusion was something to the effect of ďwe donít conclusively know if it was part of native Americans diets but it doesnít appear to be dangerousĒ

Another thing to keep in mind regarding the grafting experiments is time.  The longer you can keep the scion alive the stronger the effect will be (along with the pruning technique).  This is tricky with herbaceous plants obviously because of dieback, which is why seed collection is part of the process, unlike in fruit trees where you can leave them to be transformed until you take cuttings. Batatas I guess wonít die back if itís keep inside through the winter, perhaps a pandurata on batatas might stay vegetative and could be transformed over a longer period.
« Last Edit: 2019-10-30, 12:49:16 PM by Chance »

reed

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Interesting stuff, I take most of what I read about native Americans with a grain of salt.

The batatas scion on my first attempt finally croaked. Poor technique I think. Too much tissue of both was exposed to air instead of firmly in contact with each other.

I'v got two more now, done differently. I used small pieces of batatas root instead of stem sections, no stems or leaves at all and matched them with V shaped cuts as closely and tightly as possible using medical tape to hold them together.

Batatas roots as small as these will not ordinarily keep long, they pretty quickly start getting dry and wrinkled up. So far so good as they still look fine after a couple of weeks so any moisture or nutrients have to be coming from the pandurata root. I'm just gonna leave them as is for awhile, would about be a miracle I reckon if they started to heal together but if they do they should sprout slips next spring and I can try to pollinate with pandurata.

I used batatas roots from a couple plants I believe to be non self compatible. Figure that will make it easier to know if the pandurata pollen I bring in is working. Sure hope my other pandurata blooms next year so I don't have to drive to collect pollen.

I actually reused the same pandurata root on one of them. They must be forgiving plants cause it had sprouted new feeder roots already.  Just cut it off fresh and used a V shaped edge of a cookie cutter to make the cut, reversing it on the batatas. Seems to have worked pretty good, got a nice tight fit. 
« Last Edit: 2019-10-30, 02:31:54 PM by reed »