Mānoa Heritage Center



ʻUala (Sweet Potato)

Ipomoea batatas

Polynesian Introduction

A very valuable crop for Hawaiians: stem tips and tubers are eaten and other parts are used medicinally or for making lei. Leaves can also be placed under mats for cushions. The sweet potato is an embodiment of Lono, the god of rain and agriculture (among other things). It is the only Polynesian-introduced plant that comes from South America (is that true?). Sweet potato is grown in dry areas where kalo does not grow. There are over 50 varieties of sweet potato.