Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines a yam as “the edible starchy tuberous root of various plants used as a staple food in tropical areas”, this clear definition is followed by a second definition that only serves to confuse readers. The second definition is: “a moist usually orange-fleshed sweet potato”. According to Merriam-Webster, a yam and a sweet potato are interchangeable names for the same root vegetables. However, this simply isn’t true. Outside of the United States, “yams” and “sweet potatoes” are known to be two distinct vegetables that do not belong in the same botanical family. Yams are covered in a tree-like bark and contain a white flesh, while sweet potatoes come in various different colors, most often with an orange flesh and reddish potato-like skin. For more information about the differences between sweet potatoes and yams, see Ryan’s page, which presents information from the Library of Congress.