Potato is the vernacular name for the edible tuber of Solanum tuberosum L. (Solanaceae), as well as that of the perennial plant whose stem is the tuber. Native to the Andes in South America, potatoes are now cultivated in most parts of the world.
Potatoes grow best in cool climates with sufficient rain and/or irrigation, but some cultivars also do well in warmer regions, as in China, India and Indonesia.
The potato is a low-growing plant with large leaves that separate into leaflets. Many cultivars may be asexual, but others bear white, purple or bluish flowers that give rise to small, green, poisonous fruits. Potatoes are usually propagated by planting tubers or pieces thereof, which are cut to bear at least one bud (“eye”). The skin of tubers of the various varieties may be brown to yellow, pinkish to red and even dark-red, and the underlying flesh, usually white to yellow, often reflects the color of the skin. Potatoes are the fifth food crop in order of importance, as well as the first among the root crops. The annual world crop exceeds 320,000 metric tons, of which China produces about a fifth.
The potato, as a food crop, has had a significant social effect, as detailed by R.N. Salaman (The History and Social Influence of the Potato, Cambridge University Press, 1949).
Several specialist periodicals, such as American Journal of Potato Research, European Potato Journal and Potato Research, discuss all aspects of this crop.
Major Potato pests in the Middle East
Alyokhin, A., Vincent, C. and Giordanengo, P. (eds) 2013. Insect Pests of Potato: Global Perspectives on Biology and Management. Academic Press, The Netherlands, pp. 616.
Burton, W.C. 1989. The Potato, 3rd Ed. Longman Scientific & Technical, UK.
Hawkes, J.G. 1990. The Potato, Evolution, Biodiversity and Genetic Resources. Bellhaven Press, London, UK.