The Main Plant entry for Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)

This database entry exists to show plant data and photos that apply generically to all Potatoes.

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Underground structures: Tuber
Uses: Vegetable
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Fruit is poisonous
Propagation: Other methods: Stolons and runners
Pollinators: Various insects

photo credit: flickr4jazz

Photo gallery:

Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Jan 13, 2013 4:51 PM

It's estimated there's 5000 varieties worldwide, of which 3000 are found in the So. Am. Andes Genetic testing indicates original traced to southern Peru and extreme northwest Bolivia.
4000 different varieties are generally divided into the following groups: russets, reds, whites, yellows (Yukons), and purples. There are also wild species throughout the Americas. In the last 20 years genetically modified varieties have appeared.
Potatoes were domesticated 7000 to 10000 years ago
China and India account for nearly a third of the world harvest.
Potatoes are the world's 4th largest food crop (behind rice, wheat, and maize).
Propagation can be achieved by dividing tubers into pieces with an eye, seed, or cuttings.
Some interesting facts: a) if stored w/ pears near, potatoes absorb odors of pears.
b) it's possible to graft a tomato onto a potato plant that will produce edible tomatoes and potatoes. These creations are referred to as Chimeras.
c) Mr. Potato Head was invented in America in 1949.
d) Humans can survive and be healthy on a diet of potatoes supplemented only with milk or butter (which have the 2 vitamins not provided by potatoes.

[ Reply to this comment | Give a thumbs up ]

Posted by Marilyn (Kentucky - Zone 6a) on May 20, 2013 11:48 PM

"Potatoes contain toxic compounds known as glycoalkaloids, of which the most prevalent are solanine and chaconine. Solanine is also found in other plants in the family Solanaceae, which includes such plants as the deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) and tobacco (Nicotiana) as well as the potato, eggplant, and tomato. This toxin affects the nervous system, causing weakness and confusion.

These compounds, which protect the plant from its predators, are, in general, concentrated in its leaves, stems, sprouts, and fruits. Exposure to light, physical damage, and age increase glycoalkaloid content within the tuber; the highest concentrations occur just underneath the skin. Cooking at high temperatures —over 340 °F— partly destroys these. The concentration of glycoalkaloid in wild potatoes suffices to produce toxic effects in humans. Glycoalkaloids may cause headaches, diarrhea, cramps, and in severe cases coma and death; however, poisoning from potatoes occurs very rarely. Light exposure causes greening from chlorophyll synthesis, thus giving a visual clue as to areas of the tuber that may have become more toxic; however, this does not provide a definitive guide, as greening and glycoalkaloid accumulation can occur independently of each other. Some varieties of potato contain greater glycoalkaloid concentrations than others; breeders developing new varieties test for this, and sometimes have to discard an otherwise promising cultivar.

Potatoes are generally grown from seed potatoes – these are tubers specifically grown to be disease free and provide consistent and healthy plants. To be disease free, the areas where seed potatoes are grown are selected with care. In the USA this restricts production of seed potatoes to only 15 states out of the 50 states that grow potatoes. These locations are selected for their cold hard winters that kill pests and long sunshine hours in the summer for optimum growth."

Taken from wikipedia's page at:

[ Reply to this comment | Give a thumbs up ]

Plant Events from our members
vanillabright On March 11, 2016 Transplanted
Red potatoes in Front Yard Tire (12) Earth (4) Small plant had two large worms. I think they were feeding on seedling roots.
lovesblooms On March 26, 2020 Plant emerged
from late february planted store-bought sprouted potatoes
» Post your own event for this plant

Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Potatoes by a1020 Nov 15, 2020 11:03 AM 1
My potato plant is self aware (And a few other things) by PotatoLinux Nov 10, 2020 2:09 PM 3
2020 Northeast Veggie Gardening by MoonShadows Dec 2, 2020 12:16 PM 972
potato balls by radagastoff May 29, 2019 4:38 PM 2
Can you grow decorative potato vines from regular potatoes? by joannakat Mar 24, 2019 5:10 PM 4
2018 Northeast Veggie Gardening by Newyorkrita Dec 23, 2018 6:36 PM 894
Text for Echeveria page by Baja_Costero Mar 13, 2017 10:43 AM 10
2017 Northest Veggie Gardening by Newyorkrita Jan 18, 2018 8:32 AM 330
2017 Vegetable Gardening by Newyorkrita Feb 26, 2018 7:49 PM 2,789
ID of this plant by emevol4 Apr 28, 2016 5:30 AM 2
2016 Northeast Veggie Gardens by robertduval14 Dec 6, 2016 6:01 PM 1,036

« Add a new plant to the database

« The Plants Database Front Page

Today's site banner is by Lucius93 and is called "Lilium 'Zeba'"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.