Solanum tuberosum L. (Potato)

Crop Type: Garden Crop

Breeding system: Predominantly autogamous

Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.)  belongs to the Solanaceae family. It is one of the most important food crops worldwide.

Its wild diploid ancestors were probably domesticated as early as 10,000 years ago high up in the Andes of South America. To Europe it was first introduced in 1500s in Spain to where it arrived from the Canary Islands. In late 1700s it was described and named by European botanists. After several centuries, adaptation to European longer day conditions potato became of general use in the late 1700s. (Olsson 2001)

Potato plant shows great variation in morphology in leafs, flowers and tubers, quality characteristics and resistance to frost, diseases and pets. Potato can be propagated from seeds or vegetatively by planting tubers or pieces of tubers.

As staple food potato has numerous uses as boiled, mashed, steamed, roasted, dried, staffed and grated. It is served mostly hot but also cold (salads, crisps). Potato is used to brew alcoholic beverages (e.g. vodka, akvavit) and as fodder. Potato starch is used in the food industry as thickener and in the textile industry as well.

References
  • Olsson K (2001) The history of the  potato. In: Vetel√§inen, M (Eds.) Pohjolan perunat (Potatis i Norden). Pohjoismaisen geenipankin kuvaus vanhoista perunoista (En beskrivning av gamla potatissorter bevarande hos Nordiska Genbanken). Nordiska Genbanken, Alnarp. p. 44-45. ISBN 91-973990-1-9