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The potato is a starchy root vegetable native to the Americas that is consumed as a staple food in many parts of the world. Potatoes are tubers of the plant Solanum tuberosum, a perennial in the nightshade family Solanaceae.

Wild potato species can be found from the southern United States to southern Chile. The potato was originally believed to have been domesticated by Native Americans independently in multiple locations, but later genetic studies traced a single origin, in the area of present-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia. Potatoes were domesticated there about 7,000–10,000 years ago from a species in the S. brevicaule complex. Many varieties of the potato are cultivated in the Andes region of South America, where the species is indigenous.

The Spanish introduced potatoes to Europe in the second half of the 16th century. They are a staple food in many parts of the world and an integral part of much of the world's food supply. Following millennia of selective breeding, there are now over 5,000 different varieties of potatoes. Over 99% of potatoes presently cultivated worldwide descend from varieties that originated in the lowlands of south-central Chile. The importance of the potato as a food source and culinary ingredient varies by region and is still changing. It remains an essential crop in Europe, especially Northern and Eastern Europe, where per capita production is still the highest in the world, while the most rapid expansion in production during the 21st century was in southern and eastern Asia, with China and India leading the world production of 376 million metric tons (370,000,000 long tons; 414,000,000 short tons) as of 2021.

Like the tomato, the potato is a nightshade in the genus Solanum, and the vegetative and fruiting parts of the potato contain the toxin solanine which is dangerous for human consumption. Normal potato tubers that have been grown and stored properly produce glycoalkaloids in negligible amounts, but, if green sections of the plant (namely sprouts and skins) are exposed to light, the tuber can accumulate a high enough concentration of glycoalkaloids to affect human health.

They have been mentioned in various VeggieTales episodes.



VeggieTales in the House


See Also