The sweet potato can reproduce by one of three primary means. The plant can reproduce and colonize an area by allocation of carbon acquired through photosynthesis into storage roots, which subsequently sprout to produce new plants. It can also reproduce by allocating a major proportion of its nonmaintenance energy into vines, which under suitable conditions form roots readily at the nodes, producing daughter plants. Lastly, and only of minor importance in a numerical sense, is sexual reproduction via the formation of seed. When reduced to its most basic roles, a sweet potato plant can be divided into three component parts each with distinctly different functions. Storage roots and tubers differ substantially in both anatomy, the former being a root and the latter a modified stem, and in general physiology. A substantial portion of the sweet potatoes grown are harvested before the plant reaches its maximum yield potential in that relatively small storage roots are desired.