Whether you call them yams or sweet potatoes, It turns out that sweet potatoes and yams that we find here in the States are really all sweet potatoes. What we think of as yams are called this by mistake. It started long ago when the slaves were brought over and identified sweet potatoes with the “nyami” from Africa. The name stuck and we’ve been eating em ever since. To further the complication, neither of them are really potatoes at all! They are both tubers
Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) come in two main varieties here in the States. One has a golden skin with creamy white flesh and a crumbly texture. The other has a copper skin with an orange flesh that is sweet and soft. All sweet potato varieties generally have the same shape and size -- they are tapered at the ends and much smaller than the yams.
The USDA decided to label them as "yams" to differentiate the two varieties
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