Exploring Self-Pollination In Sweet Potatoes: How It Works And Its Benefits (2023)

Sweet potatoes are a nutritious and versatile vegetable that are enjoyed by many people around the world. However, for those who are looking to grow their own sweet potatoes, the question of whether or not sweet potatoes are self-pollinating crops arises. While sweet potatoes can be pollinated by insects, it is possible for them to self-pollinate, meaning that the flowers on the plant can fertilize themselves. This article will explore the process of self-pollination in sweet potatoes, how it works, and what benefits it has for the farmer.

Sweet potatoes are a wonderful earthy vegetable that can be used in a variety of ways in cooking. As a warm-weather vegetable, it takes about 90 days to mature. Because sweet potatoes are self-sterile, they do not pollinate. Potted sweet potatoes prefer sandy, well-draining soil to which compost should be applied. The roots of sweet potatoes are referred to as slips and rootable roots. Three to five slips of sweet potatoes are produced per sweet potato. North Carolina, the leading producer of sweet potatoes in the United States, accounts for approximately 60% of total sweet potato production. China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of sweet potatoes.

The methods of pollination used to compare the fruit setting and seed production of sweet potatoes were bee pollination, open pollination, and close pollination. When honey bee pollination was compared to open and closed pollination methods, the percentage of fruits set in six of seven sweet potato clones was significantly higher.

When it flowers in the morning, sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family. There are many different types of bees that pollinate these flowers (from large bumblebees to small bees like sweat bees) and come to the flowers to collect nectar and pollen.

(Video) How to cross pollinate sweet potatoes

They can cross-pollinate with pollinated plants in our open-pollinated nursery. Because of the sweet potato’s complicated genetic structure, one genotype cannot cross with another genotype alone. As a result, we have 15-30 distinct parents, allowing bees to pollinate the nursery.

Sweet potatoes will develop stems, which are leaves. Each of those slips will have their own internal system once they begin to develop. These small leaves are easily removed from the mother sweet potato and placed on the ground or in a large container at home.

Why Sweet Potato Is Cross Pollinated?

Exploring Self-Pollination In Sweet Potatoes: How It Works And Its Benefits (1)

Sweet potatoes are cross pollinated as a safeguard to ensure that the plants have genetic variation, which is essential for their survival. Cross pollination is a way for sweet potatoes to increase the diversity of their gene pool, leading to stronger and more resilient plants. By cross pollinating, it allows for more genetic diversity, which can help to create plants that are more resistant to disease, pests, and other environmental issues. Cross pollination also leads to the creation of new varieties of sweet potatoes, which can offer different flavors, textures, and colors. Cross pollination is essential for the survival of sweet potatoes, and it helps to ensure that these delicious vegetables will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.

(Video) Grow More & Bigger Sweet Potatoes! - Phosphorus/Fertilizing, Soil Temp, Spacing, Watering & Curing

Potato root vegetables have a variety of culinary applications. They are not only appealing for their taste, but they are also fascinating in terms of their reproductive biology. Potatoes’ main mode of production is self pollination, which means they are pollinated because their genotype, length, and temperature all influence their production. In addition to the advantage of self-pollination, inbreeding can cause a number of negative effects on the plant, including a lower germination percentage, a reduction in plant vigor, flowering, and male fertility, among other things. Some fruits, including open-pollinated ones, may be affected. The vegetative propagation of potatoes can also be used to produce seed. Taking stem cells from vines and allowing them to root and form new storage roots is a method for this. Because of its quick and efficient method, it is a popular choice among growers, and it ensures that the plant cultivar remains true to the original.

Sweet Potato Mode Of Pollination

Exploring Self-Pollination In Sweet Potatoes: How It Works And Its Benefits (2)

Sweet potatoes are an incredibly popular and nutritious vegetable, but did you know that they are also self-pollinating? Unlike other vegetables and fruits, which rely on bees, wind, and other animals for pollination, sweet potatoes are capable of self-pollination, meaning that they can pollinate themselves without the help of insects or other pollinators. This makes sweet potatoes much easier to grow and cultivate, giving them an extra edge in the vegetable garden. Sweet potatoes are also relatively disease and pest-resistant, making them an ideal choice for gardeners.

Sweet Potato Breeding

Exploring Self-Pollination In Sweet Potatoes: How It Works And Its Benefits (3)
(Video) Khmer Homegrown Vegetable Garden In Maryland | Why Its Important To Cut Off Sweet Potato Flowers

By selecting cross-breeding parents and cross-breeding combinations, a sweetpotato breeding project can be initiated. Sweetpotato varieties are less tolerant of temperate climates than others in terms of flower production, indicating a cross-compatibility as well as a self-compatibility.

The use of trellising sweet potato vines on fence posts, explained by Don LaBonte, has resulted in the development of new varieties. The Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station’s sweet potato breeding program has been ongoing for some time. Disease after disease has atrophied over the years, including fusarium wilt and soil rot, which were once scourges of the industry. A Louisiana Tech University researcher is breeding sweet potatoes with resistance to Rhizopus soft rot, a disease that can be treated with dicloran. Because the European Union does not tolerate this fungicide, all sweet potatoes exported from the EU must be free of it. Researchers are also working to improve the efficiency of sweetpotato weevils, the most destructive pest in the region. We have been breeding for many years as part of elite genotype programs in order to produce a new variety with a higher yield, higher quality, and easier to grow. Every year, these nurseries produce 10,000 to 14,000 seeds, and after three years of trialling, only 10-15 of them are suitable for breeding. There is no single definition of breeding, but there is both a science and a form of art.

A sweet potato is both nutritious and delicious, and the growing process is equally rewarding. Despite their relative invisibility, they can be sexually transmitted by cloning. Harvesting usually begins around the end of the vine, when it begins to yellow and before frost in the North. To avoid injuring the tubers, you must first find the primary crown of the plant and loosen an 18-inch-wide circle around it with a digging fork. Sweet potatoes are distinguished by their genetic similarity to their parents, so the cloning process ensures that they will be dependable and sustainable in the long run. Sweet potatoes are an excellent choice for gardeners of all skill levels, whether they are a beginner or a seasoned gardener.

Harvesting Success With Sweet Potatoes

There are many different types of sweet potatoes. They are not able to self-fertilise, but they are frequently fertile, which means that all plants have the same genetic code. Farmers are more likely to grow and manage the crop because it is simpler to grow and manage than other crops such as corn and soybeans. Because the crop requires a significant amount of labor, time, and input, it is difficult to work in the field all year. As a result, sweet potatoes are only a viable crop if the farmer is willing to put in the effort and dedication required to harvest them.

(Video) Project Updates, Amazing Sweet Potato/Ornamental Corn Harvest & Tree Pruning! 🙌🌳🌽

Are Carrots Self Pollinating

Carrots are an interesting crop because they are self-pollinating. This means that they don’t need to be pollinated by an outside source such as bees or other insects. In other words, they can self-pollinate and produce a crop of carrots without any help. This is one of the reasons why carrots are so popular in home gardening and commercial farming. They are low maintenance and can produce a healthy crop with minimal effort. Furthermore, when grown in a home garden, carrots can be harvested in as little as three months from the time of planting.

Self Pollinating Vegetables

Self-pollinating vegetables are a great way to have a successful garden with minimal effort. These vegetables are capable of producing fruits and vegetables even without cross-pollination from other plants. This means that your garden will be self-sufficient and you don’t have to worry about relying on other plants or bees to pollinate your vegetables. Popular self-pollinating vegetables include tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, squash, and melons. These vegetables are relatively easy to grow and require only basic gardening knowledge, making them a great starting point for novice gardeners.

A vegetable that is self-pollinating can be any fruit-bearing vegetable that does not require pollination or fruit production from bees or other insects. Pollen must be present for fruit production to occur. The male and female flowers of some vegetables differ from one another, and those flowers are not completely arranged or perfect. Pollen that has fallen to the stigma can be removed by blowing the flowers with a fan. A soft cotton cloth can also be used to fan the flowers. He is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who lives in California. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is a good place to start. Every year, Harvesttotable.com receives over ten million visitors.

Self-pollinating Veggies: No Pollinators Needed

Pollination is necessary for the pollination of many fruits, but self-pollinating crops such as tomatoes, green peppers, chili peppers, eggplants, green beans, lima beans, sweet peas, and peanuts do not. Some varieties, such as gynoecious cucumbers, can produce fruit without pollination by using parthenocarpy, which is a type of plant that allows fruit to be produced without pollination by animals. Some self-pollinating vegetables, such as tomatoes and peas, have both male and female parts on the same flower, but pollination is required for a fruit to grow. Some cauliflower varieties, on the other hand, are self-pollinating, so seeds can be sown freely.

(Video) Pollination Explained


What are the benefits of the ability to self pollinate? ›

During self-pollination, the pollen grains are not transmitted from one flower to another. As a result, there is less wastage of pollen. Also, self-pollinating plants do not depend on external carriers. They also cannot make changes in their characters and so the features of a species can be maintained with purity.

Do sweet potatoes self pollinate? ›

In order to set seed, the stigma has to receive pollen grains, but it can't be from the same flower because sweet potato flowers are self-sterile and can't pollinate themselves. The pollen has to come from a completely different plant and even a completely different variety.

How does sweet potato pollinate? ›

Sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory family, and as its name suggests, flower in the morning hours. They are pollinated by many different types of bees (from large bumblebees and carpenter bees to smaller bees such as sweat bees), which visit the flowers for nectar and pollen.

Why potato is self-pollinated? ›

Pollination of Potato Flowers

Because potatoes and tomatoes have similar flowers and pollination, potatoes are self-pollinated, which means they have the male and female flowers on one plant. Pollination can occur from wind and from insects.

What is self-pollination give its advantages and disadvantages? ›

Pollination is the transfer of pollen grains from the anther to the stigma of a pistil of the flower. Self-pollination: It is also known as Autogamy. In self-pollination, pollen grains are transferred from the anther to the stigma of the same flower.

How does self-pollination work? ›

Self-pollination occurs when the pollen from the anther is deposited on the stigma of the same flower, or another flower on the same plant. Cross-pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower on a different individual of the same species.

How many sweet potatoes will one plant produce? ›

How many sweet potatoes do you get from one plant? Typically, you'll be able to harvest 3-5 tubers per sweet potato plant, which is about 1-2 pounds. But if you live in a warmer climate, you may harvest six or more tubers per plant.

How do you grow sweet potatoes by itself? ›

Start with a healthy sweet potato. Cut it in half and place in a glass of water, leaving half the vegetable out of the water and half submerged. Place on a window sill that receives sun or in a warm spot for several weeks until shoots begin to grow on the top. Roots will also grow on the bottom of the vegetable.

Should I let my sweet potato plants flower? ›

When you see flowers on your potato plants, I recommend cutting them off for two main reasons. First of all, you don't want the flowers to produce a fruit that small children or pets might be tempted to eat. Secondly, pruning the flowers is a great way to increase production of spuds.

How do you increase the yield of a sweet potato? ›

Research shows that sweetpotato yields increase as planting depth increases from 0 to 5†. Increasing planting depth is one of the simplest ways to increase potential yields. In the broadest sense there are three types of roots sweetpotatoes produce (Figure 1).

Are sweet potatoes pollinated by bees? ›

Apples, cranberries, squash, sweet potatoes, beans—these are just a few Thanksgiving table favorites, all of which rely on bees for pollination.

Why sweet potato is cross pollinated? ›

We allow them to cross-pollinate in an open pollinated nursery. Because of the sweet potato's complicated genetic structure, an individual genotype cannot cross with itself but must cross with another genotype. Thus, we arrange a nursery with 15-30 unique parents, and let bees to do the pollination.

What are the major causes of self-pollination? ›

Self- Pollination

In self-pollinating plants, there is less dependence on the external factors to cause pollination. These plants depend on wind or other smaller insects that visit the flower regularly. In self- pollinating flowers, the anthers, and stigma are of similar lengths to facilitate the transfer of pollen.

Why is self-pollination a problem? ›

Self-pollination leads to lack in variation that means no adaptation towards changing environment or potential pathogen attack. It also leads to inbreeding depression lead to weakening the species. Due to these disadvantages many flowers that can self-pollinate tends to avoid it.

Why is it called self-pollination? ›

A flower is self-pollinated (a “selfer”) if pollen is transferred to it from any flower of the same plant and cross-pollinated (an “outcrosser” or “outbreeder”) if the pollen comes from a flower on a different plant.

What are the five disadvantages of self-pollination? ›

Disadvantages of self-pollination :
  • The seeds are in smaller quantities.
  • New plant varieties cannot be created. Because the endosperm is so little, the seeds produced are feeble.
  • The immunity of the offspring decreases if new characteristics are not introduced.

What are the 4 steps of self-pollination? ›

The most generalized form of this process requires four steps: pollination, germination, penetration of the ovule, and fertilization. After fertilization, the zygote divides to form an embryo.

What are the long term effects of self-pollination? ›

Self- pollination is said to reduce the vigor and vitality of the race as there are no new features introduced.

What is self-pollination and example? ›

In this process, the pollen grains transfer from the stigma of the same or genetically similar flower. Self-pollination can be observed in legumes such as orchids, sunflowers, peas, peanuts, oats, peaches, potatoes, wheat, and others.

What are the three types of self-pollination? ›

Depending on this, pollinations are of three types, namely:
  • Autogamy. It is a type of self-pollination where the transfer of pollen grains from the anther to the stigma takes place within the same flower. ...
  • Geitonogamy. ...
  • Xenogamy. ...
  • Pollinating Agents. ...
  • Further Reading:
Oct 17, 2020

What are the 5 steps of pollination? ›

Fertilization Process
  • Pollination. Pollination takes place immediately before the anthesis. ...
  • Pollen Germination. Within 2 to 3 minutes, the pollen left on stigma starts to germinate, to grow pollen tube toward the egg cell. ...
  • Penetration of PollenTube into the Ovule. ...
  • Fertilization. ...
  • Division of the Fertilized Egg (Zygote)

Should I trim my sweet potato vines? ›

The long vines of sweet potatoes can overrun a garden. In early to mid-September, feel free to cut them back by 25%. This simply makes the plants easier to deal with when digging. Sweet potatoes with edible tubers developing below the ground.

What is the best fertilizer for sweet potatoes? ›

Sweet potato vines thrive best when a balanced slow-release 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 fertilizer is applied. Use either organic or non-organic fertilizer since this plant will not produce an edible crop.

Can you leave sweet potatoes in the ground over winter? ›

The tuberous roots should be harvested by the time frost kills the vines or soon thereafter. Sweet potato roots continue to grow until frost kills the vines. Roots can be left in the ground for a short while; however, a hard frost can cause damage to roots near the surface.

Can you just plant a sweet potato in the ground? ›

Unlike regular potatoes, you can't just plant a whole sweet potato in the ground and expect a crop; it will rot underground. Sweet potatoes are grown from sweet potato slips. Slips are the stems and foliage that sprout from already grown sweet potatoes. Twist them off the potato, root them in water, then plant them.

Can you cut a sweet potato in half and grow it in water? ›

To grow slips, do as Arnold suggests: Gather a few sweet potatoes, and cut them in half. Place the halves in damp potting soil or water, with half the tuber submerged. Use toothpicks to keep the sweet potatoes upright in water-filled jars.

Do you plant sweet potatoes the same way you plant regular potatoes? ›

Like regular potatoes, sweet potatoes are starchy tubers that form underground. But the heart-leafed vine that produces sweet potatoes requires a longer growing season (100 to 140 days) and warmer soil than the kind of plant that produces regular "white" potatoes.

What happens if you trim sweet potato vines? ›

Harvesting the greens will also help you grow larger potatoes! In fact, cutting back your sweet potato vine allows the plant to put more energy into its roots. Cut back the vines, and teach your plants to focus on growing the tubers instead.

What plants should not be planted near sweet potatoes? ›

3 Plants to Avoid Planting Near Sweet Potatoes
  • Squash: Squashes like pumpkins compete with sweet potatoes for space and nutrients.
  • Sunflowers: These flowers may increase the risk of potato blight.
  • Tomatoes: Planting tomatoes near sweet potatoes can increase the chances of your plants contracting harmful diseases.
Nov 23, 2021

How long after flowering are sweet potatoes ready? ›

Sweet potato varieties are ready to harvest 95 to 120 days after planting in the garden. When the leaves turn slightly yellow they are usually ready to harvest. Because they have thin skins sweet potatoes are easily damaged during harvest so extra care should be taken.

Does pruning sweet potato vines increase yield? ›

On the contrary, the three times pruning or more since 80 days after transplanted can reduce the starch yields for more than 50%. The slight increase in vines yield due to pruning was followed by the decrease in storage root yields and starch content of the sweet potato.

Is Epsom salt good for sweet potato plants? ›

Epsom salt. Add some Epsom salt to the soil while planting to help promote magnesium which will help build walls of Sweet Potato. For a more direct approach, 1 tablespoon can be mixed with a gallon of water and applied directly as a foliar spray on the leaves.

Do sweet potatoes fix nitrogen in soil? ›

Recent evidence of significant biological nitrogen fixation in sugarcane (Saccharum spp.), rice (Oryza sativa), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), kallar grass (Leptochloa fusca),1) and sago palm (Metroxylon sagu)2) has generated a lot of interest in nitrogen fixation by non-legumes.

How do sweet potatoes multiply? ›

The plant reproduces in three ways: from seed, from the actual storage roots, or from the plant vines. Sweetpotato is cultivated by vegetative propagation. Growers take stem cuttings from the vines, which then root and form new storage roots.

How does sweet potato reproduce asexually? ›

Sweet potatoes in gardens are usually reproduced asexually. Taking a cutting from a plant's root or stem means that there is no opportunity for genes to shuffle or for new genes to be introduced. This sort of propagation is cloning! The plant is genetically identical to its parent.

Do sweet potato plants attract bugs? ›

The flowering sweet potato plant attracts pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. On the flip side, sweet potato plants are susceptible to a number of pests, including aphids, whiteflies, and nematodes.

Why is it better to be cross pollinated? ›

Advantages of cross-pollination

The seeds formed by outbreeding may combine the hereditary traits of both parents, and the resulting offspring generally are more varied than would be the case after self-pollination.

What is the purpose of cross pollination? ›

In nature, cross-pollination occurs when pollen from one plant is transferred to another plant, resulting in healthier offspring and new plant varieties. It's essential for genetic variation, increasing plants' diversity and adaptability in changing environments.

How does cross pollinating work? ›

Cross-pollination is the process of applying pollen from one flower to the pistils of another flower. Pollination occurs in nature with the help of insects and wind. This process can also be done by hand to produce offspring with desired traits, such as colour or pest resistance.

What are benefits of self-pollination? ›

The race's purity is preserved. Pollen grains do not go to waste. Pollination is not dependent on external causes or pollinating agents.

What are self-pollination advantages? ›

Advantages of self-pollination

Only a few pollen grains are capable of pollinating the bloom. The race's purity is preserved. Pollen grains are not wasted when plants self-pollinate. Pollination failure is less likely.

What is the advantages and disadvantages of self-pollination over cross pollination? ›

The purity of the race is maintained. There is no wastage of pollen grains. Self-pollination ensures that recessive characters are eliminated. The plants are independent of external factors or pollinating agents for pollination.

What is a potential negative effect of self-pollination in plants? ›

Selfing certainly provides reproductive assurance, but our results also suggest that it increases the risk of losing genetic variation and failing to adapt when prolonged over more than a few generations.

What are the two possibilities of self-pollination? ›

Solution : (i) Self-pollination can be between the same flower. <br> (ii) It can take place between two different flowers of the same plant.

How does self-pollinating work? ›


The anther opens and the pollen lands on the stigma of the same flower. To promote cross-pollination and increase genetic diversity, plants have evolved a wide variety of sexual strategies to attract pollinators and spread pollen from one flower to another of the same species.

What is self-pollination in one sentence? ›

: the transfer of pollen from the anther of a flower to the stigma of the same flower or sometimes to that of a genetically identical flower (as of the same plant or clone)

What are the advantages of self-pollination over cross-pollination? ›

There is no wastage of pollen grains. Self-pollination ensures that recessive characters are eliminated. The plants are independent of external factors or pollinating agents for pollination.

What are the benefits of bees pollinating? ›

Animal-based pollination contributes to 30% of global food production, and bee-pollinated crops contribute to approximately one-third of the total human dietary supply. Bees are considered significant pollinators due to their effectiveness and wide availability.

Who benefits in the pollinator flower relationship? ›

In mutualistic relationships between flowers and their pollinators, flowers benefit by having their pollen efficiently distributed to other flowers of the same species, allowing them to reproduce. Pollinators benefit by feeding on the nutritious pollen and nectar that flowers provide.

What are the benefits of bees pollinating flowers? ›

Before we get too deep into answering the “why?”, it's important to note that many flowers depend on bees and other pollinators for their survival. Without bees, some flowers couldn't reproduce because it's bees who carry pollen from flower to flower in their search for food.

Which pollination is better cross or self? ›

In cross pollinated flowers more pollen grains are produced and cross pollination helps flower to survive in different climatic environment. Cross pollination allows diversity in the species as the genetic information of different plants are combined. Was this answer helpful?

What are 3 reasons pollinators are important? ›

They are good sources of food and shelter for wildlife, and naturally beautiful. Spread Awareness. Educate others about the importance of pollinators and share how you planted for bees, butterflies, birds and other animals at home. Plant a continuous food supply.

Do bees help with self pollination? ›

Self-pollination takes place within the same flower, or sometimes between genetically identical flowers on the same plant. Cross-pollination occurs between plants. Both self- and cross-pollination can be accomplished by bees, but bees are most commonly associated with cross-pollination.

What are the 3 most important pollinators? ›

Top 10 Pollinators in Agriculture
  • Wild honey bees. Native honey bees are the most commonly known pollinator. ...
  • Managed bees. Wild honey bees are not the only pollinating bee species. ...
  • Bumble bees. ...
  • Other bee species. ...
  • Butterflies. ...
  • Moths. ...
  • Wasps. ...
  • Other Insects.
Jul 20, 2022

What are 3 flower traits that attract a pollinator? ›

Many flowers use visual cues to attract pollinators: showy petals and sepals, nectar guides, shape, size, and color.

What is the single most important pollinator for agricultural purposes? ›

The plight of pollinators

More than 4,000 bee species buzz around the United States. Honey bees alone pollinate 80 percent of all flowering plants, including more than 130 types of fruits and vegetables.

What is pollination and why is it important? ›

Pollination is the act of transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. The goal of every living organism, including plants, is to create offspring for the next generation. One of the ways that plants can produce offspring is by making seeds.

What will happen if there is no pollination? ›

Fertilization occurs only after pollination. If the flower is not pollinated, no fertilization of the flower will take place. As such fruits, as well as seeds, will not form. The flower will age and then die without forming any seeds.

What are 3 reasons why bees are important? ›

Here are the top 5 reasons why bees are important, they:
  • Help produce 1/3 of our food supply.
  • Help provide ½ of the world's fibers, oils, and other raw materials.
  • Help create many medicines.
  • Provide food for wildlife.
  • Help prevent soil erosion.
Aug 22, 2021


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