Australian Native - Desert Yam, Native Sweet Potato - Ipomea costata
Australian Native - Desert Yam, Native Sweet Potato - Ipomea costata
Australian Native - Desert Yam, Native Sweet Potato - Ipomea costata
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Australian Native - Desert Yam, Native Sweet Potato - Ipomea costata

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The Desert Yam is a native of the Southern Kimberley and Pilbara areas of West Australia and NT where it grows in well-drained, sandy, arid soils and an open, sunny position. It is drought tolerant but dislikes frost. However, frost will only affect above ground part of the plant, and the tuber will sprout again in warmer weather.

Also known as Rock Morning Glory, or Bush Potato.

The tubers are an important food source for Indigenous Australians. Closely related to the sweet potato it produces large, tasty tubers. Tubers can be as large as an adult head and can occur 0.5-1m below ground level.  To harvest tubers, dig down leaving the plant and main tuber untouched, and gather the small, young white tubers which are crisp and great to add raw to salads.  Roasted in hot coals over a bush fire is another way to eat the tubers.

The plant grows as a climbing, evergreen perennial reaching a height of approx. 3m, leaves are heart-shaped and glossy green; flowers are purple, pink or blue.

Soak seeds overnight before planting.  Sow seed approx. 1cm deep in Spring in good quality seedling medium or direct into prepared garden bed.  Germination approx. 3 - 4 weeks depending on temperature (best 25C).  

When the plant is still growing above ground, water adequately, and grow in a full-sun to part-shade position in well drained soil. In cooler times of the year limit watering as the tubers may rot. The tubers store water well, and can survive very long periods with no water.  Very tolerant of hot and dry conditions.

5 seeds per packet