Monday, August 8, 2011

AgBCs: Y is for Yams

Yams aren't just for holiday meals—they are fun for science, too!

Even though most Americans use the terms interchangeably, did you know yams and sweet potatoes are not the same thing? In fact they are not even related. Who knew, right?

Although yams and sweet potatoes are both angiosperms (flowering plants), they are not related botanically. Yams are a monocot (a plant having one embryonic seed leaf) and from the Dioscoreaceae or Yam family. Sweet Potatoes, often called ‘yams’, are a dicot (a plant having two embryonic seed leaves) and are from the Convolvulacea or morning glory family.

Want to have some REAL fun with yams? Try out this lab for converting the starch in yams to sugar. Pretty cool, huh?

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