DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The potato, Solanum tuberosum, is a widely grown and important staple food in temperate countries. It originated at high altitude in the Andes. The commercial plant is propagated by means of tubers. Each tuber produces buds that grow out into vertical stems when the tuber is planted. These stems produce leaves above ground, and both roots and rhizomes ( underground stems ) below ground. During the growing season the rhizomes branch to produce swollen ends that eventually produce the crop of harvestable tubers.The picture shows a rhizome (vertical, centre) with a small developing tuber at its end. The thinner strands to the lower part of the picture are the plant's roots, that supply it with water and nutrients from the soil.
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