Sweet potato cor­rup­tion

Amateur Gardening - - A Gardener’s Miscellany -

Ad­mi­ral Sir John Hawkins (English naval com­man­der, mer­chant and ship­builder), had al­ready in­tro­duced us to the sweet potato (Ipo­moea batatas) from the Amer­i­can trop­ics in 1565. The se­cond part of the name comes from the Haitian ‘batata’, of which ‘potato’ is a cor­rup­tion.

When it was first in­tro­duced, the sweet potato had a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing a pow­er­ful aphro­disiac: Shake­speare knew this when he makes Sir John Fal­staff, burst­ing with lech­er­ous de­sire in The Merry Wives of Wind­sor, ex­claim, ‘Let the sky rain pota­toes!’

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