Man of the Earth, Big-root Morning Glory, Wild Potato Vine

Ipomoea pandurata

Family: Convolvulaceae (kon-volv-yoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ipomoea (ip-oh-MEE-a) (Info)
Species: pandurata (pand-yoor-RAY-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Ipomoea pandurata var. rubescens


Vines and Climbers

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall



Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tuskegee, Alabama

Deltona, Florida

Wauchula, Florida

Brunswick, Georgia

Cornelia, Georgia

Dahlonega, Georgia

Demorest, Georgia

Flora, Indiana

Logansport, Indiana

Derby, Kansas

Barbourville, Kentucky

Annapolis, Maryland

Prince Frederick, Maryland

Corinth, Mississippi

Marietta, Mississippi

Cole Camp, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri

Perryville, Missouri

Springfield, Missouri

Helena, Montana

Deposit, New York

Rochester, New York

Bessemer City, North Carolina

Pinehurst, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Greenville, South Carolina (2 reports)

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Clarksville, Tennessee

Goodlettsville, Tennessee

Hendersonville, Tennessee

Lafayette, Tennessee

Lenoir City, Tennessee

Pleasant View, Tennessee

Westmoreland, Tennessee

Harlingen, Texas

Jacksonville, Texas

Trinity, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 28, 2013, Panchito from Glendale, OH wrote:

I have NOT grown this plant, it grows itself quite well. I live in the Cincinnati area, and this plant grows profusely here. It is coming up everywhere, this year in particular. Perhaps the seeds are more fertile in the plants here, I don't know, but there are lots of the the things here, which is good news considering the fact that it is endangered nationally.

It is not a pest, or invasive, since it was here prior to us whities arriving. This is a plant that really should be developed into a crop plant, since it produces such a huge root. If it was selectively bred for flavor, root size, depth of growth, number of tubers produced, etc.

Just a thought...


On Nov 21, 2011, alasneh from Valencia
Spain wrote:

We live in Spain and we are very interested in this plant. We would like to buy some bulbs or roots. If you have any ideas please send a d-mail!


On Aug 16, 2010, peejay12 from Porthleven, Helston, Cornwall
United Kingdom (Zone 9b) wrote:

Someone I know in Sweden grows this plant. He says he has grown it for four years and it flowers regularly.

It is not surprising that the plant survives there, as it is a z5 plant, although the wet winters may put it at risk, but considering the low sunlight levels in Sweden, compared to the US, it is surprising that it flowers reasonably well.

Hearing of his success I hope to trial this plant in dull wet old England. I will plant it in gravelly sandy soil and let you know of the results.


On Apr 27, 2009, soivos from Annapolis, MD wrote:

Ipomoea pandurata is one of the 'morning glories' native to the Eastern United States.

Although the USDA lists it as 'invasive' this is a function of the fact that many, if not most vining plants interfere with contemporary agricultural practices. It is not invasive in the way that Japanese Honeysuckle and Oriental Bittersweet are invasive, and it serves as a host plant to 39 known species of native butterflies and moths.

In fact, this plant is becoming more and more difficult to find, even as seed, although it is high on Douglas Tallamy's list of '20 Most Valuable Native Plant Genera in Terms of Supporting Lepidoptera Species', coming in at #5 on the perennials list!

The same is also true of Ipomoea lacunosa (Whitestar).


On Jun 4, 2008, greenpage from Rochester, NY wrote:

This plant was eaten by native (first) Americans. I can't quite remember the native American name for it; it begins with an "m" I believe. When I examine the pictures of this plant, it reminds me of Ipomea Andersonii, which also has a large root. It is necessary to not confuse the two since one is edible when properly prepared and the other is not. I have searched for I. pandurata since my elder aunts told me about it when i was a young girl.


On Jul 22, 2007, KevinTernes from Goodlettsville, TN (Zone 6a) wrote:

Whenever I observe this plant, the flower buds or flowers always seem to have ants on them. And often, a bee will take up residence in the closed flower in the afternoon.


On Jul 12, 2006, bybar from Springfield, MO wrote:

I live west of Springfield MO and found this plant today growing along the roadside in the country. When I got out to investigate, one of the plants was actually growing through the blacktop road! The other was in gravel along side the road; both in full sun. It was so pretty I couldn't wait to get home and look it up. Anyone have any suggestions as to how I could start some?


On Feb 5, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

According to the Peterson Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, the root resembles a bitter sweet potato. It can be cooked by boiling in several changes of water. CAUTION: The raw roots are a purgative


On Sep 26, 2005, zemerson from Calvert County, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I've only seen it in one place here in Maryland: growing over a pile of dead tree branches. It makes them look much better in my opinion, with such pretty flowers.

It seems to have a hard time producing seeds.


On Jul 11, 2004, momom from Perryville, MO wrote:

I had this pretty vine pop up on a fence in my yard-I don't know how it got there,but it is a very pretty plant-resembles a type of morning glory to me.Some people in Mo consider it a pest,but so far it has only taken up a 3x2 area on my fence.I love vines,and this one is a great "natural" addition!


On Jun 16, 2004, Fran99 from Spartanburg, SC wrote:

Has been growing on a red clay bank for many years. Not invasive because of the poor soil, I guess. Drought tolerant.


On Jun 10, 2004, NatureWalker from New York & Terrell, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Listed as both endangered and invasive by USDA-related websites, but I wanted one - it's not invasive here in New York state (zone 5a)