The word ‘potato’ (Solanum tuberosum) is used to refer to the plant itself or its edible tuber. The plant is an herbaceous perennial and came to Europe from Latin America in the second half of the 16th century. Potatoes as a food crop were introduced by the Spanish. Now this starchy, tuberous crop is an integral part of the world’s food supply and many people’s diet. In terms of volume, potato is the fourth-largest food crop in the world, after maize, wheat and rice.
Potato plants grow up to some 60 cm tall. Its leaves die after flowering, fruiting and the development of the potatoes. The plant’s flowers vary from white, pink, red or blue, to purple and have yellow stamens. After the flowering phase, the plants grow small, green fruits which look like cherry tomatoes and contain about 300 seeds each.