What is the origin of the potato?

Kerstin Stawald
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The potato is just one of over 150 species of the genus Solanum that form tubers (a tuber is the swollen end of an underground stem). Today, the potato and the foods made from it can be found in every supermarket and are an integral part of a healthy diet.

But where did the potato come from?

Potatoes were planted as early as 1,800 years ago by the Incas in South America, suggesting that they may have been independently domesticated several times.

The initial distribution of the potato looks like this:

  • In the second half of the 16th century, invading Spaniards brought the potato to Europe.
  • By the end of the 17th century, it had become an important crop in Ireland.
  • By the end of the 18th century, it had become an important crop throughout continental Europe, especially in Germany and the west of England.

Originally from Ireland, the potato became a staple food in the Western and Eastern Hemispheres during the first four decades of the nineteenth century. However, the Irish potato famine, which followed crop failures caused by late blight in the mid-nineteenth century (especially in 1846 and 1848), led to a more cautious approach to the potato.

Kerstin Stawald

About Kerstin Stawald

Kerstin Stawald is a versatile writer who is committed to delivering quality content and illuminating a variety of topics with clarity and insight. Kerstin Stawald's flexible approach makes for a wide range of exciting content.

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