While hiking in a Pine Barrens habitat in coastal Maryland, the flowers of what looked like an over-sized Morning Glory caught my attention.
Wild Potato Vine is a twining plant which features heart-shaped leaves and funnel-shaped white flowers that are 2 to 3 inches across with maroon centers.
This plant gets its “potato” namesake because its large, tuberous roots can be roasted and eaten. Some of the tubers can reach 30 inches long, be 5 inches thick and weight over 20 pounds.
Wild Potato Vine habitat includes upland woods, the edges of prairies bordering woodlands, thickets, stream-sides and disturbed ground, like railroad and highway borders.
It is host to Long-tongued Bees, Bumblebees and Digger Bees as well as nectar-seeking butterflies and moths. Tortoise Beetles, the the Sweet Potato Flea Beetle and the Sweet Potato Leaf Beetle feed on its leaves.
Wild Potato Vine is also known as known as Man of the Earth, Manroot, Wild Sweet Potato and Wild Rhubarb.