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Solanum tuberosum

Pronunciation: So-lan-num too-ber-oh-sum
Family: Solanaceae (nightshade family)
Common Name: Potato, white potato, irish potato
Plant Type:
  • fruits, vegetables
  • bulb, tuber, corm
  • annual
Height to: 3'
Width to: 4'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • Not apply
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Description: Potato flowers are rather showy: they are star-shaped, white, lavender, pink or light blue with yellow centers, about an inch across, and borne in clusters. The fruits are like small green tomatoes, about an inch in diameter, and contain several hundred seeds. The fruits, leaves and stems are poisonous.
Soil Type: Potatoes need well drained soil, but frequent watering.
Propagation: Potatoes are usually grown from small tubers, called "seed potatoes. " these develop into genetically identical clones of the plant that produced the original tubers. Small seed potatoes are planted whole; larger tubers are cut into pieces with 2-4 "eyes" on each piece. It is not necessary to wait for the cut pieces to "heal" before planting. Many gardeners plant their seed potatoes in the bottom of a 6-10 in ( cm) trench and cover with 3-4 in (7. 6-10 cm) of soil; as the potato stem and foliage develop, they fill in the trench, burying more of the plant. Others plant potatoes only 1-2 in (2. 5-5 cm) deep and cover with a thick layer of hay or straw, adding more mulch as the stem and foliage develop
Native to: The andes mountains in chile, peru and bolivia. In this region more than 3000 varieties of potatoes have been cultivated for food. The incas and their ancestors have been growing potatoes for more than 3000 years. Potatoes were first brought to europe in the early 16th century by spanish tourists, but did not become a dietary staple until the 18th century. By the early 1800's, most of the people in ireland were entirely dependent on potatoes for food. In 1845 and 1846 a fungus disease wiped out the entire potato crop in ireland, and nearly one-half the population starved to death, while a million survivors left for other parts of the world. Today the potato is the most valuable crop in the us, and, behind rice, wheat, and corn, the fourth most important food crop in the world. The russians lead the world in per capita potato consumption, and 90% of world potato production is in russia and europe.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - it's hard to beat new potatoes dug fresh from the garden. You just can't buy these little golf ball-size, skinless, mouth-watering jewels. When your potato plants are about 8 weeks old, carefully reach into the hill and pull out the little tubers one at a time. Do it again in 2-3 weeks. For storage potatoes, wait for about 2 weeks after the tops of the plants have withered and died back, and by then the tubers will have sturdy skins that won't rub off.  warning all parts of the potato plant except the tubers are poisonous. Tubers that have become green are poisonous.
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