The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial nightshade Solanum tuberosum L. The word "potato" may refer either to the plant itself or to the edible tuber. In the Terran Andes, where the species is indigenous, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species. Potatoes were introduced outside the Andes region starting in the early 1600s OTT, and have since become an integral part of much of Terra's food supply. It is the Union's fourth-largest food crop of Terran origin, following maize, wheat, and rice. The green leaves and green skins of tubers exposed to the light are toxic.

Wild potato species can be found throughout the Americas from the United States to southern Chile. The potato was originally believed to have been domesticated independently in multiple locations, but later genetic testing of the wide variety of cultivars and wild species proved a single origin for potatoes in the area of present-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia (from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex), where they were domesticated approximately 7,000–10,000 years ago. Following millenniums of selective breeding and genetic engineering, there are now close to a million different varieties of potatoes[1]. Over 99% of the presently cultivated potatoes unionwide descended from varieties that originated in the lowlands of south-central Chile, which have displaced formerly popular varieties from the Andes.

However, the local importance of the potato is variable and changing rapidly. It remains an essential crop in Europe (especially eastern and central Europe), where per capita production is still the highest in the world, but the most rapid expansion over the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia. From 2007 to the Terran Ascent China led the world in potato production, and nearly a third of the world's potatoes were harvested in China and India.


  1. After the Mini Terrans joined the Union, an effort was made to genetically engineer several varieties, decreasing the size of the plant and associated tuber to point where it would be about a twentieth of it's original size.
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