Author Topic: Ipomoea pandurata, aka man root, man of the earth, wild sweet potato  (Read 2104 times)

reed

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Mine out at the end of the driveway along the gravel county road are doing well. Up above the weeds and growing into some wild rose bushes, very similar to the way I see them growing wild. Hoping for some flowers this year. I dug out and discarded one in the garden for fear it would take over the world. Apparently it can grow back from little bits of root left behind. 

Never got around to trying the grafting again, but suppose it's not too late. I've got some super early blooming sweet potatoes this year and plenty of the pandurata.

Chance

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They will come back from bits of roots, very strong too.  If I could make it edible it would be a resilient food source. 

My vines, even the one I harvested most of last fall, all have flower buds already.  I may pick up some local sweet potato slips and try pollination this year.  Probably Iíll  try pruning the style of batatas and putting pandurata pollen on it before going through the trouble of grafting.

Chance

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Reed are you going to try any controlled crosses of pandurata to batatas this year?  The 2 inch pandurata root i left in the soil last year has made a very vigorous vine.

reed

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I don't know, no good reason not too as I have batatas and pandurata flowers both available right now. The big wild one down the road has lots of blooms. I thought it had died off but noticed just yesterday, mine that I started from it's seeds also have a few flowers.  I have just had lots of things going on and have kinda neglected the project. 

Chance

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You got organza bags?  Iíll send you some if you donít.  Even if you just did something like 10 pollinations, half with pruning the style first, that could at least tell us something. 
« Last Edit: 2020-07-16, 06:29:29 PM by Chance »

reed

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All righty you shamed me into it. A complication is I'm nearly positive some of my earlier flowering batatas are self pollinating. I actually kind of like that trait but makes it harder to be sure only the pandurata pollen is in play on a particular flower. I guess I have to dissect a flower before it opens?

My research on pandurata indicated that it, like batatas is also most commonly NOT self compatible. However the two plants I have collected seed from, miles apart from each other obviously are. What is your experience, thoughts on that? 

I can try the cross in the other direction too now since I don't have to drive a couple miles and crawl through the weeds to the pandurata flowers.

Chance

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Shame for science  ;D

We know itís probably not going to work so easily but your conditions are different from the Russian researcher 100 years ago especially I would think your batatas are probably more fertile at least more diverse.  Yea i guess you would have to prune the anthers before the batatas flower could self, could also bag a flower or two and see if itís self incompatible.  My experience with pandurata supports self incompatibility, my first seedling that flowered alone didnít set seed until the other seedling began flowering. 

Nicollas

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So cool !
Fingers crossed in France for your pollinations to succeed!

reed

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Last time I tried this I got 2 seeds from a batatas flower that I am somewhat confident were pollinated by pandurata. They were nicely mature and well formed but they did not sprout. All the other flowers I tried it on aborted.

I'll try a larger number of flowers this time and try to be more careful in my technique.

reed

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All the earlier ones failed right away but I finally have 5 capsules developing from my (attempted) batatas x pandurata crosses. Good thing too, cause all the pandurata has about stopped blooming and I was abut to give up trying anyway.

Richard Watson

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Good luck with these capsules
Changeable year round climate, less so summertime, 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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Thanks, I just hope they really are crosses. I did cover them up with tea bags to keep the bees out but all but one are on the same plant and it looks like one that is probably self compatible. And I wasted quite a lot of batatas flowers in the attempt. None of the ones in the other direction worked so I won't get many seeds at all from my pandurata plants.

S.Simonsen

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Interesting to see I am not the only one working in this area. I can see a lot more potential in the wider Ipomoea genus than in just trying to push batatas further. I also have macrorhiza, pandurata, a couple leptophylla (bit warm here in the subtropics for them), plus cairica. We also have abrupta and costata that are native Australian edible species, with a few others like polpha escaping my grasp so far.

Crossing batatas and other species is bound to be difficult since batatas is almost always hexaploid while most wild species are diploid. You would get tetraploids with a lopsided genome that could be awkward despite being an even copy number.

If you want to get down in the weeds there is a new monograph of the genus Ipomoea (A foundation monograph of Ipomoea
(Convolvulaceae) in the New World. John R.I. Wood1,2, Pablo MuŮoz-RodrŪguez1 , Bethany R.M. Williams1, Robert W. Scotland) that is a magnum opus. It does genetic analysis that helps identify closely related species, plus focuses on identifying species with edible history and useful sized roots.

My main focus with the diploids other than diploid/diploid hybridisation is to try using oryzalin to bump up the ploidy level. My main end goal is a very hardy type that can persist and size up under marginal conditions over multiple seasons to produce large roots. I am not concerned about edibility of the whole root, instead would like to develop a form that starch can be extracted from. This gets around toxins since wet milling and starch extraction allows water soluble toxins to be washed away. Just means selecting for large starch grains for easier purification.

While I think of it- does anyone know how storable Ipomoea pollen is? For individuals doing so would make wide crosses easier, plus if there are enough of us interested we may be able to swap pollen between us if it is stable when dry at room temperature.

reed

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From my other thread on turning sweet potatoes into an annual.
Regarding the discussion mid-thread about crossing I. batatas with one of the two more cold hardy diploid species:
In theory, if one of these crosses were to be successful the result would likely be (possibly) fertile tetraploids which could be further crossed and selected amongst each other, but not back to either parent species as back crossing would theoretically result in primarily sterile triploid or pentaploid progeny depending which parent was used for the back cross.

Interesting, and I hope to find out. I now have 11 good looking seeds that (I hope) are crosses between batatas and pandurata. I say I hope because I can't tell by looking, they look just like regular batatas seeds. I was careful in doing the crossing, covering the crossed flower with tea bags and all but the bees are very active on sweet potato flowers. Also I'm sure the batatas plant that made most of them is self compatible. I know it is commonly thought batatas isn't self compatible but in my plants it often is. The first seeds I ever found were from a selfed plant.

In my research I found that pandurata also isn't supposed to be self compatible but most of my seeds are collected from a single isolated plant that I found along the road a few miles away. The near 100% of seed producing flowers can't be explained by pollination from another more distant plant and their flowers are very distinct. If there was another one anywhere nearby I think I would have found it. The pollen in my attempted cross came from that plant and it's offspring now growing by my mailbox.

Now if these seeds sprout and grow next year, and if they truly are crossed it should show up as phenotype differences.

My graft attempts didn't work. I think that is probably due more to my inexperience and sloppiness than anything else.

I know a couple people at Purdue University, I may look into earlier suggestions of having them help me with germinating these seeds.   

S.Simonsen

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A quick search around suggest unreduced pollen is known in Ipomoea, so crossing across different ploidy levels might not be a complete waste of time.

I was refreshing the soil in my potted Ipomoea collection the last couple of days and checking out the roots. I pandurata tends to have one large central tuber with a few swollen tubers branching off in different directions. My younger I. macrorhiza have just one main tuber (often bent from hitting the bottom of the pot). I thought I crossed I. pandurata with pollen from I. cairica last year, but inspection of the tubers on the seedlings suggests they are just misidentified I. macrorhiza. The vines were twining about so I might have misidentified the species flowering, and we have plenty of bees so they might have selfed or crossed the macrorhiza onto each other without me noticing (I didn't bag any flowers, nor did I mark the flowers I hand pollinated). Hopefully I get more chances in the future to do a more careful job (I wasnt expecting anything to set first time around). I also have some I. abrupta, with much less impressive roots than the US species. I. leptophylla seems to hate my subtropical conditions and the tubers are still pea sized. I have some seed grown batatas in the mix, some with nice fat tubers, some with long irregular ones, and one strange one that had no tubers at all (is this common?). I can attach photos of the roots if anyone is interested in a particular species.