Solanum tuberosum: Potato

Family: Solanaceae
Common name: Potato

Humans started eating potatoes about 10,000 years back and we still haven’t had enough of it. This starchy, tuberous vegetable grows almost everywhere in the world, and is used in cooking in various forms. Potato is the 4th largest food crop, having over 5000 different varieties. Plants with white flowers usually have the creamish-brown tubers we are mostly familiar with. And plants with pink, red, blue or purple flowers produce potatoes with different skin colors.

Potato plants are herbs that grow to about 3-4 feet, the leaves withering and dying after flower and tuber formation. Potato plants are nightshades, like tomatoes and eggplants where the flowers and fruits are poisonous. Though the plant produces small green fruits, they are not edible. But they contain small seeds which can be germinated.

Propagation is done from seeds or by planting small pieces of the potato having one of two eyelets, from where the new plant grows.

Photo Courtesy: @fukayamamo, Rodrigo dos Reis

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