Country of origin: Russia
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial nightshade family. Wild potato species can be found throughout the Americas from the United States to southern Chile, but wide variety of cultivars and wild species derive from a single origin in the Andes Mountains of present-day southern Peru and northwestern Bolivia, where the origin species was first domesticated around 5000-8000 BCE. Potatoes were introduced outside the Andes region by the colonial Spanish in the 16th century, and have since become a staple of the global food supply, currently the world’s fourth-largest food crop. Following centuries of selective breeding, there are now over a thousand different types of potatoes. Potato plants are herbaceous perennials that grow about 60 cm high, with the leaves dying back after flowering, fruiting and tuber formation. They bear white, pink, red, blue, or purple flowers with yellow stamens. In general, the tubers of varieties with white flowers have white skins, while those of varieties with colored flowers tend to have pinkish skins. After flowering, potato plants produce small green fruits that resemble green cherry tomatoes, each containing about 300 seeds. Like all parts of the plant except the tubers, they are toxic and unsuitable for consumption.