Irregular leaf formation with sweet potatoes

Aschaffenburg, Germany

I acquired two sweet potatoes, one lime-colored and the other purple, from which I made cuttings. One of the lime cuttings has different leafes in the growth area now...they look like swallow-tail butterflies (papilio).

That's a strange phenomenon with irregular leaves, which I have started to observe with the MGs, too. I wonder what causes it?


Martin

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Aschaffenburg, Germany

Here is a leaf in the midst of the dragonfly leaves that looks like a beech leaf in the right hand corner of the photo...

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Aschaffenburg, Germany

Here is a better photo of the papilio leaf.

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Aschaffenburg, Germany

Perhaps being cutter off from the main plant causes a shock, so I wonder if the plant reverts to regular leaf growth later on...

Aschaffenburg, Germany

Another interesting observation is that in the center of leaf growth in the purple plant, the leaves start out as green leaves when young to turn purple later on...

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Aschaffenburg, Germany

It's a shame no-one is responding to my thread. It's always oh and ah about the nice flowers...I am also scientifically interested in morning glories. Here is another photo of the papilio sweet potatoe.

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Aschaffenburg, Germany

Morning glories offer themselves for artistic purposes. I have combined a lime-colored batata (sweet potato) with a purple one and am thrilled by the nice effect it produces. These are two different plants.


Martin

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Aschaffenburg, Germany

I noticed in our local swimming pool area there are huge bushes of purple batatas, they even have cute flowers. Need to take my camera a long next time I go there.

Aschaffenburg, Germany

Here I am letting a nil climb on strings that are attached to strings in front of my kitchen window. Morning glories seem to need a lot of light. The ones I keep in darker corners of the room are not really growing properly....

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(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Nice I. batata vines! Nice combo growing the purple and lime green one together. I have one of each still growing in two different containers. Love them!

Mesilla Park, NM

I love these also, too bad mine don't over winter here outdoors.

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

This is mine growing outside in a tipsy pot ...

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Aschaffenburg, Germany

Does it ever flower Becky? At the local swimming pool, I saw the purple one flowering....

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

Martin - I haven't ever seen flowers on that sweet potato vine. But it does produce lots of potatoes in the soil. LOL! That vine in that photo is it's 3rd year of coming back. I have to prune it several times a year because it gets so big!

Zephyrhills, FL

What you say about the variability in the leaves of the sweet potato plants is something I have noticed, but I have never thought of actually looking for a pattern in this phenomenon. It sounds like it would be a very difficult , very complex undertaking.I think from time to time these plants must revert to some other species that were in their evolutionary history and this is the explanation. For example, perhaps at one time long ago there was an Ipomoea with leaves that were consistently and fully producers of beech tree-type leaves.

(Zone 7a)

Martin, back in the 70s I was reading those Brooklyn Botanic handbooks, and a passage in one of them mentioned that there was a species of euonymous that once had fooled botanists into believing that it was actually a dozen or so different euonymous species. They solved the riddle when they noticed a developmental pattern; that is, the youngest leaves would look like species A, next youngest leaves like species B and so on. The 12 different euonymous species corresponded to specific stages of growth of just one species.

Sooooo - in this post - http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=8034908 - you mentioned that the leaves of your purple sweet potato would start out green and then turn purple as they aged. So, perhaps we can say that some variations of leaves within one plant, like your purple sweet potato, can be caused by whatever developmental stage they are at.

How do they know to make this particular change as they age from young to older? Perhaps their genes are programmed to send messengers (enzymes) to where the leaves are about to emerge with the news?

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Likewise with your beech leaves - maybe that leaf shape along with the dragonfly leaf shape is programmed as one of a few different shapes in the genes. What makes that plant decide to make a beech leaf instead of a dragonfly leaf and vice versa? That question gives rise to lots of other questions, doesn't it? Martin, I would be curious to see what would happen if you were to propagate cuttings of the part of your MG stem with those beech-type leaves. Would the resulting plant have predominantly beech leaves? Would there be any differences between the flowers from a beech-leaf vine and the parent vine with predominantly dragonfly leaves? You could keep a journal for a while to see if the beech-type leaves appear in correlation with anything going on in the environment.

(Another example of this would be moonflower vines (Ipomoea alba). Manys the time in this forum that someone has remarked how, when older stems travel along the ground, that the leaves develop a number of lobes - kinda pointy in my garden. Come to think of it, I wonder if this would happen with young vines if they were to be deliberately trained to grow horizontal from the beginning? If so, then this would not be a developmental thing, but a phenomenon triggered by a variation in growing conditions.)

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Ransom, your comment about "... plants [...reverting] to some other species that were in their evolutionary history..." raises some fascinating considerations about mimicry and a strange universality of shapes wafting within genes from life forms taxonomically quite distant from each other - it seems bittersweet that as we go backwards in the Tree of Life that potentialities multiply. Conversely, as we go into the future, it seems that we get extinctions but no new spontaneously occurring life forms.

Long ago, DH and I were visiting Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, and as we walked into one of their greenhouses, a flower greeted me that looked just like a daffodil - in September and in a bromeliad collection. Whodathunk that a bromeliad flower could so well mimic a daffodil flower? There's even a form of mimicry where a social group of insects clusters on a stick and mimics a flower - can't remember specifics.

I have no answers - just agreeing with you what a wondrous mystery is all the variations lurking in a given set of genes that await unknown conditions capable of triggering mutation (also known as change). And the fun of it is finding the pattern within the seeming randomnicity.
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Sorry to be so windy and I suppose a tad circuitous. Thanks, y'all, for bringing up such an interesting subject. I hope folks with whom I'm behind in correspondence will forgive me and I look forward to other comments on this thread.

Karen

Garland, TX(Zone 8a)

Maybe the mimicry is all about quantum entanglement Einstein's "spukhafte Fernwirkung" or "spooky action at a distance."

Well, maybe not. I'm not informed enough to fully grasp such concepts... but I'd like to be... some day. LOL

Have I strayed off-topic?

-Nick ^_^

(Becky) in Sebastian, FL(Zone 10a)

With the wide variety of species morning glories, I suppose it is possible that at some point some of these species came from the same plant that eventually mutated and became new species. And continued to mutate even further to create even more to become the species we know today. Different species around the globe may also produce mutations for survival depending on climate and location environment. Everything came from the same beginning, right? And they may carry the earlier genetics that surface from time to time.

I have noticed a variety of leaf shapes on many of my MG vines regardless of species. I believe the genetic pool in the Convolvulaceae is very diverse. One of the reason they are such interesting plants to grow.

(Zone 7a)

Nick, imho, the more ways to approach a topic, the better.

Aschaffenburg, Germany

Looking at my sweet potatoes now, they have pretty much stabilized into a stable leaf shape, even the cuttings. My guess is it has to do with the light and the time of the year.

Zephyrhills, FL

Hi. gofast. I have a morning glory which I suspect is some species of I, batatas. Can I recognize this species by the seeds. I collected hundreds. I will be back later with pictures of this plant. Unfortunately I did not take pictures of the flowers.
Thanks.

Aschaffenburg, Germany

It is difficult to nearly impossible to determine this species by seeds. f you look at the sepals this will help a great deal, . With ipomea batatas I have had some flowers but no seeds. I am not the expert on ipomoea batata

Ron convolv. would be, whom you can find in the morning glory forum of cubit.org, but I am not sure if he has the time to answer questions these days....

Martin

Zephyrhills, FL

Mr. Kushner has agreed to look at some seeds and capsules, so he he must have some time. Here is a picture of the plant. The seeds orginated in Morales, Mexico. As you can see the leaves are predominantly heart shaped, but later they will become ivy-leaved. They are glossy. I wish I had taken a picture of the flowers. They are long, tubular and crimson-throated, kind of like a foxglove flower. Martin you are becoming expert in sweet potatoes. Also I would like to show you a JMG I am growing now that has foliage like a sweet potato.

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Aschaffenburg, Germany

Very interesting indeed. Shame you don't have flower pics but I am anxious to see those in the future.


Martin

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