Ipomoea mauritiana – Giant Potato (plant)
Ipomoea mauritiana is native to several areas of the pacific region, including northern parts of Australia. This particular type was collected from Magnetic Island in North QLD. A very attractive ornamental and medicinal Ipomoea species. Whilst a common name is Giant Potato, referring to the very large tubers this species produces, it is not considered an edible species, being used more medicinally.
Ipomoea mauritiana is used in Ayurvedic medicine where it is known as Vidari. Tuberous roots contain a resin similar to Jalap resin and are considered tonic, aphrodisiac, demulcent, lactagogue and cholagogue. Powdered root is given in diseases of spleen and liver, debility, fatty deposition and menorrhagia (S. Bidyadhar).
Care and Cultivation of Ipomoea mauritiana
Ipomoea mauritiana likes a part shade/full sun position with access to adequate water, though it can survive just fine without water for extended periods thanks to its underground tuber, which can be raised as a succulent bonsai. Deciduous in the colder months of the year where watering should be minimal or abstinent.