August 17, 2022
Man of the Earth flowers

Have you happened to see these large white flowers blooming along roads, field edges, or other sunny areas? If you have and are wondering what they are, read on to find out.

What Is Man Of The Earth?

These flowers have many names given to them depending on the region you find them. Some other common names include Wild Potato Vine, Wild Sweet Potato, Wild Rhubarb, and Manroot. They are native to the eastern and southern US. They can be found as far north as Ontario, Canada.

They grow along roads and railways, prairie edges near woodlands, along ponds and streams, and sunny or partially shaded disturbed areas. They are in the same family as the common morning glory and the moonflower, known as Convolvulaceae. The scientific name of the Man of the Earth plant is Ipomoea pandurata.

This is a vine that reaches up to 30 feet in length. The flowers are large and white with a pinkish or purplish throat. They flower from June through August.


The roots are pretty much the only part of this plant that is used. The roots can grow as large as 30 inches long and 5 inches thick. They can weigh as much as 22 lbs. Some large specimens have been reported that weighed up to 30 lbs.

This is a good plant to know if you are ever in a survival situation. The roots can be dug up and eaten like potatoes. Since there are reports the roots may be mildly toxic it is suggested to boil them twice, discarding the water. It is recommended not to eat them raw as they can have a strong laxative effect. That’s not something you want to have happen when you are already stressed from a survival situation. However, cooking them in the manner mentioned above purportedly diminishes the effect. I would still eat them in moderation until you know how they will affect you.

The larger roots are reported to be very bitter. If you do decide to try eating them it is suggested to try and find younger roots, which are less bitter. However, you might not have that option should you find yourself lost and needing food. In that case, you might have no choice but to eat the larger roots and deal with the bitterness.


The more you learn about the natural world you will realize there are many common plants that can be used for food. Whether you are trying to become more self-sufficient, spend a lot of time in the backcountry, or just want to save a little money at the food market, using wild plants can easily be a part of your plan.

If you want to learn more about the Man of the Earth vine and some other useful info about plants in the morning glory family in general, you can visit this link.

You may also be interested in some of our other articles on edible and medicinal wild plants:

For more information about other wild medicinal plants and essential oils, you can visit our list of articles

Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. The health information in this article is not intended to assess, diagnose, prescribe, or promise a cure for any medical condition. Consult with your health care professional before considering any natural supplement or plant remedy for your health and wellness. We assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using manufactured or natural medications.

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error: All images are copyrighted 2019-2022 Lost In The Ozarks or Gary Davis Photography. All Rights Reserved.
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