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 plant is grown from a tuber. The tuber produces buds that grow out into vertical stems when it is planted. The 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 small potato plant. The original tuber (the "seed potato") is centre right, with the stem it produced above it. The white horizontal structures to left and right are the rhizomes, branching to produce the potato crop at their ends. The thinner strands, below centre, left, are the roots that provide the plant soil nutrients and water.
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