DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The potato, Solanum tuberosum, is a widely grown staple food in temperate countries. It originated at high altitude in the Andes. The plant is grown from a tuber. The tuber produces buds that grow into stems when the it is planted. The stems produce leaves above ground, and both roots and rhizomes (underground stems) below ground. During the growing season the rhizomes produce swollen ends that give rise to the harvestable tubers.The picture shows a small potato plant. The original tuber (the "seed potato") is beneath the soil surface, below centre. Two buds have produced (thick, white) stems; one (to right) with a green shoot, the other (to left) remains beneath the soil surface. The leafy shoot has produced two horizontal rhizomes, each terminating in a small developing tuber. The thinner white strands visible are the feeding roots that provide the plant soil nutrients and water.
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