Potato Plant

Figure 1

General Plant Information:

The potato plant scientific name is Solanum Tuberosum (Figure 1)(family: Solanaceae, Genus: Solanum, Species: Tuberosum). (Daves Garden, n.d.)
The potato plant is approximately three feet tall. (Figu
Figure 2
re 2)

It is vine like and very leafy. The leaves on the plant are dark green. The potato plant also has very beautiful flowers. The flowers of the potato plant are shades of white, pink and purple with a yellow centre (Knapp, 2010) (see Figure 2).
Environmental conditions where the potato plants grow is it is cooler summer temperatures are great for the growth of the potato but they can be grown in temperate climates, it is also ideal that there are short days and that there is moist soil.
The potato plant originated in the Andes Mountains of South America. Today potatoes are cultivated all around the world. The world’s leading producers of potatoes are Russia, Poland, China, The United States, and India. Potatoes are grown in over one-hundred countries (Netafim, n.d.). See Figure 3 for Average regional potato output.

Figure 3


The product from the potato plant (Solanum Tuberosum) is the potato (figure 4). The potato is a crop that people all over the world have enjoyed for centuries. Its great taste, availability, and excellent nutritional value have won the hearts of millions. The potato is the fourth largest crop in the world next to rice, wheat, and corn(Netafim, n.d.). Potato farmers plant the potatoes in their fields and are then harvested by the farmers
Figure 4
and then the potatoes go through a filtering station where the bruised potatoes are discarded. They are then sent through a cleaning station and then through a stream of water getting rid of any dirt left over and any bruised potatoes still left are discarded. Finally the potatoes are sorted, bagged, and shipped. The part of the plant which is used is the plants Tubers (plant structure formed from underground stems called rhizomes). (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsh9Efynz6o)

Potatoes are planted
Potatoes are harvested

Filtering station bruised potatoes removed

Cleaning station. Left over bruised potatoes discarded dirt removed

Sorted, bagged and shipped to restaurants, supermarkets, etc

Consumers buy potatoes

People cook and eat them in variety of ways e.g. French fries, baked potato, boiled, mashed, etc.

Beneficial Impacts:
There are a lot of great beneficial impacts that the potatoes have on people in the world. The potato is used as a food source. It is eaten in many ways shapes or forms. People that use the potato or in this case eat the potato are anybody who has access to them. They are sold in supermarkets or purchased with a meal at a restaurant e.g. McDonalds. Living things in this case humans have benefited from the potato greatly and are and have been a large part of people’s diets. In the 1800’s the Irish were extremely dependent on the potato and lack of variety led them to 1845’s Irish Famine (Donnelly, 2010) where many people died from starvation. Economic benefits of the potato are that it creates jobs for people like the farm workers, the shipping people who deliver it to the grocery stores and the companies who make frozen food with potatoes in them such as Hungry Man and McCain French Fries. Potatoes did not really replace anything but is a great discovery and plays a very important role in the diets of some people. View figure five for a closer look at per capita consumption of potatoes. View Table 1 of per capita of potato consumption.

Table 1:

Pounds (lbs)
745 lbs
335 lbs
313 lbs
312 lbs
300 lbs
290 lbs
288 lbs
285 lbs
275 lbs
261 lbs

Harmful Impacts:
Although the potato is great they can also have its bad things too. Potatoes are susceptible to a thing called blight. Blight is caused by funguses on the potato. Early and late blight can knock out an entire field in a short amount of time. An example of late blight is the Irish Famine proved to be very deadly and cost a lot of people their lives due to not being able to eat the food they depended on. There are no alternatives to replace potatoes because it would be extremely hard to replace, but scientists have started to genetically modify potatoes (GMO-Compass, 2008) to be better resistant to diseases such as late blight so potatoes can be less susceptible to diseases so there is more potatoes to enjoy.

The potato is a great thing. A food discovered in the Andes Mountains in Central America over a thousand years ago and quickly became popular when brought to Europe, Asia and North America. The potato is the fourth largest crop in the world and has been a big part of people’s diets for centuries. It is cultivated all over the world and has many beneficial impacts on us as people because it is an excellent food source, also it affects our economy because it gives people jobs so they can earn a living and support their family. Potatoes are not just a great food but a great product and play a big part in the people of the world’s lives.

· (Knapp, 2010)http://www.eol.org/pages/482935
· (GMO-Compass, 2008)http://www.gmo-compass.org/eng/grocery_shopping/crops/23.genetically_modified_potato.html
· (Netafim, n.d.) http://www.netafim.com/crop/potato
· (Smith, 2010)http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-potato.htm
· (Smith, 2010)http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-tuber.htm
· (Donnelly, 2010) http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/famine_01.shtml
· (Daves Garden, n.d.) http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/b/Solanaceae/Solanum/tuberosum/cultivar/0/

Pictures/ Videos:
· Video 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsh9Efynz6o
· Figure 1: (Knapp, 2010) http://www.eol.org/pages/482935
· Figure 2 http://www.agroatlas.ru/content/cultural/Solanum_tuberosum_K/Solanum_tuberosum_K.jpg

· Figure 3: https://research.cip.cgiar.org/confluence/display/wpa/Global+Potato+Cultivation
· Figure 4 : (Dreyling n.d.) http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/potassium-superfoods-47020908
· Table 1: (2005, UN FAO) http://www.foodreference.com/html/f-potato-consumption.html
By: Shawn Gray