A sweet potato Christmas tree in Beijing

Maybe someone out there can help me out with this. I was walking along a main thoroughfare towards the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing and came across on the grass verge a construction consisting of tubs of what I believe may be sweet potato plants craftily arranged on a metal framework in the general shape of a Christmas tree. Here it is below (click on it to enlarge).Can somebody explain the point? Is this vegetative cone merely decorative, or do the plants have symbolic value? Are they in fact sweet potatoes?

3 Replies to “A sweet potato Christmas tree in Beijing”

  1. The display is comprised of ornamental sweetpotatoes; generally these are cultivars that do not produce edible storage roots. While I am not sure it represents a Christmas tree, it is never-the-less most attractive and those responsible should be commended. As you may know, the sweetpotato is an exteremely important food crop in China. It is the 7th most important plant source of human food in the world and since approximately 84% of the world’s sweetpotatoes are produced in China, its selection for the display makes perfect sense.

  2. No idea what the significance of the Christmas tree structure is, but they definitely look like sweet potatoes – there’s a variety called ‘Marguerite’ which has that yellow foliage, although they tend to describe it as chartreuse in the catalogues.

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