Sweetpotato Cultivar Popularity
Learn more about popular sweetpotato cultivars in each state associated with the SweetARMOR project!
In North Carolina, the dominant cultivar of sweetpotato grown commercially is Covington. Covington is an orange-fleshed, rose-colored sweetpotato cultivar that was developed at North Carolina State University in the late 1990s by the Sweetpotato Breeding and Genetics Program, headed by Dr. Craig Yencho and Ken Pecota (Yencho et al., 2008). Following the introduction of Covington in 2005, Covington has become a dominant cultivar commercially, with the cultivar accounting for approximately 90% of the total planted acres in North Carolina in 2019 (Jennings et al., 2019).
Fun Fact: North Carolina’s state vegetable is the sweetpotato!
In Louisiana, the dominant cultivar of sweetpotato that is grown commercially is Beauregard. Beauregard is a moderately deep orange-fleshed, light rose-colored sweetpotato cultivar that was originally developed at Louisiana State University in 1987 by Dr. Larry Ralston (Arnold, 2016). Following the introduction of Beauregard, it became a dominant cultivar not only in Louisiana but across the United States, including North Carolina. Today, Beauregard is still a dominant cultivar commercially, however, with the introduction of other commercial cultivars such as Covington, Beauregard is no longer the dominant sweetpotato cultivar in all the sweetpotato producing states.
In Mississippi, the dominant cultivar is Beauregard. Following Beauregard, the most popular or most commonly grown cultivars include Hernandez and Nancy Hall (Mississippi State University, 2021). Hernandez is a deep orange-fleshed, red-colored cultivar developed by Louisiana State University in 1992 (Arnold, 2016). Nancy Hall is a light orange-fleshed, tan-colored cultivar. This cultivar was once very popular throughout the Southeastern United States, however, it has disappeared from the commercial sweetpotato industry except for the Mississippi market.
Fun Fact: Mississippi hosts the National Sweet Potato Festival each November in Vardaman, which is the sweet potato capital of the world!
In California, the dominant cultivar is Covington. However, this was not always the case. For twenty years, Beauregard was the dominant commercial cultivar in California. With the introduction of Covington in 2005, the number of acres planted with Beauregard decreased, and in 2009 Covington overtook Beauregard as the dominant cultivar (Stoddard, 2013). In addition to orange-fleshed, rose-colored cultivars, California has a unique market for red sweetpotatoes or yams. In California, red-skinned and orange-fleshed cultivars, particularly Diane, are quite popular (Stoddard, 2013). These red-skinned cultivars are often considered “premium” sweetpotato varieties and garner a higher price than Covington or Beauregard cultivars (Stoddard, 2013).