I thought that sweet potatoes and yams were basically the same thing. That’s because here in the U.S., most of our “yams” also have “sweet potato” on the label as well. The USDA requires that because our “yams” are not really yams but are actually sweet potatoes. And, of course, sweet potatoes are really sweet potatoes.
Why all this confusion? There are two varieties of sweet potatoes, firm and soft. The firm variety was introduced first in the U.S. When the soft variety came along, the term “yam” was used to differentiate between the two. Yams were actually in Africa and Asia.
Sweet Potatoes have two embryonic seed leaves and yams have one seed leaf, so the two are not even related botanically. Here are more fun facts about sweet potatoes and yams.