In everyday usage, a vegetable is any part of a plant that is consumed by humans as food as part of a meal. The term vegetable is somewhat arbitrary, and largely defined through culinary and it normally excludes other food derived from plants such as fruits and cereal grains, but includes seeds such as pulses. The original meaning of the vegetable, still used in biology, was to describe all types of plant, as in the terms vegetable kingdom. At first, plants which grew locally would have been cultivated, most vegetables are grown all over the world as climate permits, and crops may be cultivated in protected environments in less suitable locations. China is the largest producer of vegetables and global trade in agricultural products allows consumers to purchase vegetables grown in faraway countries, the scale of production varies from subsistence farmers supplying the needs of their family for food, to agribusinesses with vast acreages of single-product crops. Depending on the type of vegetable concerned, harvesting the crop is followed by grading, storing and marketing.
Vegetables can be either raw or cooked and play an important role in human nutrition, being mostly low in fat and carbohydrates. Many nutritionists encourage people to consume plenty of fruit and vegetables, the word vegetable was first recorded in English in the early 15th century. It comes from Old French, and was applied to all plants. It derives from Medieval Latin vegetabilis growing, flourishing, a change from a Late Latin meaning to be enlivening, quickening. The meaning of vegetable as a plant grown for food was not established until the 18th century, in 1767, the word was specifically used to mean a plant cultivated for food, an edible herb or root. The year 1955 saw the first use of the shortened, slang term veggie, the broadest definition is the words use adjectivally to mean matter of plant origin to distinguish it from animal, meaning matter of animal origin. More specifically, a vegetable may be defined as any plant, part of which is used for food, a secondary meaning being the edible part of such a plant. A more precise definition is any plant part consumed for food that is not a fruit or seed, falling outside these definitions are edible fungi and edible seaweed which, although not parts of plants, are often treated as vegetables.
In everyday language, the fruit and vegetable are mutually exclusive. Fruit has a precise meaning, being a part that developed from the ovary of a flowering plant. This is considerably different from the words culinary meaning, while peaches and oranges are fruit in both senses, many items commonly called vegetables, such as eggplants, bell peppers, and tomatoes, are botanically fruits. The question of whether the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable found its way into the United States Supreme Court in 1893
The banana is an edible fruit – botanically a berry – produced by several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. In some countries, bananas used for cooking may be called plantains, in contrast to dessert bananas. The fruit is variable in size and firmness, but is elongated and curved, with soft flesh rich in starch covered with a rind which may be green, red, purple. The fruits grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant, almost all modern edible parthenocarpic bananas come from two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of most cultivated bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana, the old scientific name Musa sapientum is no longer used. Musa species are native to tropical Indomalaya and Australia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. They are grown in 135 countries, primarily for their fruit, there is no sharp distinction between bananas and plantains. Especially in the Americas and Europe, banana usually refers to soft, dessert bananas, particularly those of the Cavendish group, by contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called plantains.
In other regions, such as Southeast Asia, many kinds of banana are grown and eaten. The term banana is used as the common name for the plants which produce the fruit. This can extend to members of the genus Musa like the scarlet banana, pink banana. It can refer to members of the genus Ensete, like the snow banana, both genera are classified under the banana family, Musaceae. The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant, all the above-ground parts of a banana plant grow from a structure usually called a corm. Plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy, and are mistaken for trees. Bananas grow in a variety of soils, as long as the soil is at least 60 cm deep, has good drainage and is not compacted. The leaves of plants are composed of a stalk and a blade. The base of the petiole widens to form a sheath, the tightly packed sheaths make up the pseudostem, the edges of the sheath meet when it is first produced, making it tubular. As new growth occurs in the centre of the pseudostem the edges are forced apart, cultivated banana plants vary in height depending on the variety and growing conditions
The raspberry is the edible fruit of a multitude of plant species in the genus Rubus of the rose family, most of which are in the subgenus Idaeobatus, the name applies to these plants themselves. Raspberries are perennial woody stems. Raspberry derives its name from raspise, a sweet rose-colored wine, from the Anglo-Latin, vinum raspeys, or from raspoie, meaning thicket, the name may have been influenced by its appearance as having a rough surface related to Old English rasp or rough berry. Raspberries are traditionally planted in the winter as dormant canes, although planting of tender and these canes are dug and all, to be replanted in warmer climates such as Spain, where they quickly flower and produce a very early season crop. Plants are typically planted 2-6 per m in fertile, well drained soil, raspberries are usually planted in raised beds/ridges, the flowers can be a major nectar source for honeybees and other pollinators. Raspberries are very vigorous and can be locally invasive and they propagate using basal shoots, extended underground shoots that develop roots and individual plants.
They can sucker new canes some distance from the main plant, for this reason, raspberries spread well, and can take over gardens if left unchecked. Raspberries are often propagated using cuttings, and will root readily in moist soil conditions, the fruit is harvested when it comes off the receptacle easily and has turned a deep color. This is when the fruits are ripest and sweetest, excess fruit can be made into raspberry jam or frozen. High tunnel bramble production offers the opportunity to bridge gaps in availability during late fall, high tunnels allow less hardy floricane-fruiting raspberries to overwinter in climates where they wouldnt otherwise survive. In the tunnel plants are established at close spacing usually prior to tunnel construction, raspberries are an important commercial fruit crop, widely grown in all temperate regions of the world. Many of the most important modern commercial red raspberry cultivars derive from hybrids between R. idaeus and R. strigosus. Some botanists consider the Eurasian and American red raspberries to belong to a single, circumboreal species, Rubus idaeus, idaeus or R. idaeus var.
idaeus, and the native North American red raspberries classified as either R. idaeus subsp. Strigosus, or R. idaeus var. strigosus, recent breeding has resulted in cultivars that are thornless and more strongly upright, not needing staking. The black raspberry, Rubus occidentalis, is cultivated, providing both fresh and frozen fruit, as well as jams and other products. Commercial production of purple-fruited raspberries is rare, blue raspberry is a local name used in Prince Edward County, Canada for the cultivar Columbian, a hybrid of R. strigosus and R. occidentalis. Both the red and the black raspberry species have albino-like pale-yellow natural or horticultural variants, fruits from such plants are called golden raspberries or yellow raspberries, despite their similar appearance, they retain the distinctive flavor of their respective species. Most pale-fruited raspberries commercially sold in the eastern United States are derivatives of red raspberries, yellow-fruited variants of the black raspberry are sometimes grown in home gardens
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region but now cultivated worldwide. In 2016, world production of wheat was 749 million tonnes, making it the second most-produced cereal after maize, since 1960, world production of wheat and other grain crops has tripled and is expected to grow further through the middle of the 21st Century. This grain is grown on land area than any other commercial food. World trade in wheat is greater than for all other crops combined, wheat is the leading source of vegetal protein in human food, having a protein content of about 13%, which is relatively high compared to other major cereals and staple foods. The archaeological record suggests that wheat was first cultivated in the regions of the Fertile Crescent around 9600 BCE. In a small part of the population, gluten – the major part of wheat protein – can trigger coeliac disease, non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, gluten ataxia. Cultivation and repeated harvesting and sowing of the grains of wild grasses led to the creation of domestic strains, in domesticated wheat, grains are larger, and the seeds remain attached to the ear by a toughened rachis during harvesting.
In wild strains, a more fragile rachis allows the ear to easily shatter, as the traits that improve wheat as a food source involve the loss of the plants natural seed dispersal mechanisms, highly domesticated strains of wheat cannot survive in the wild. Cultivation of wheat began to spread beyond the Fertile Crescent after about 8000 BCE, jared Diamond traces the spread of cultivated emmer wheat starting in the Fertile Crescent sometime before 8800 BCE. Archaeological analysis of wild emmer indicates that it was first cultivated in the southern Levant with finds dating back as far as 9600 BCE, Genetic analysis of wild einkorn wheat suggests that it was first grown in the Karacadag Mountains in southeastern Turkey. Dated archeological remains of wheat in settlement sites near this region, including those at Abu Hureyra in Syria. With the anomalous exception of two grains from Iraq ed-Dubb, the earliest carbon-14 date for einkorn wheat remains at Abu Hureyra is 7800 to 7500 years BCE. Remains of harvested emmer from several sites near the Karacadag Range have been dated to between 8600 and 8400 BCE, that is, in the Neolithic period and these remains were dated by Willem van Zeist and his assistant Johanna Bakker-Heeres to 8800 BCE.
They concluded that the settlers of Tell Aswad did not develop this form of emmer themselves, the cultivation of emmer reached Greece and India by 6500 BCE, Egypt shortly after 6000 BCE, and Germany and Spain by 5000 BCE. The early Egyptians were developers of bread and the use of the oven, by 3000 BCE, wheat had reached the British Isles and Scandinavia. A millennium it reached China, the oldest evidence for hexaploid wheat has been confirmed through DNA analysis of wheat seeds, dating to around 6400-6200 BCE, recovered from Çatalhöyük. The first identifiable bread wheat with sufficient gluten for yeasted breads has been identified using DNA analysis in samples from a dating to approximately 1350 BCE at Assiros in Macedonia. From Asia, wheat continued to spread throughout Europe, in the British Isles, wheat straw was used for roofing in the Bronze Age, and was in common use until the late 19th century
Elaeis guineensis is a species of palm commonly called African oil palm or macaw-fat. It is the source of palm oil. The species is now naturalised in Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Central America. The closely related American oil palm Elaeis oleifera and a more distantly related palm, Attalea maripa, are used to produce palm oil. Human use of oil palms may date as far back as 5,000 years in West Africa, in the late 1800s and it is thought that Arab traders brought the oil palm to Egypt. The first western person to describe it and bring back seeds was the French naturalist Michel Adanson, mature palms are single-stemmed and grow to 20 m tall. The leaves are pinnate and reach between 3-5 m long, a young palm produces about 30 leaves a year. Established palms over 10 years produce about 20 leaves a year, the flowers are produced in dense clusters, each individual flower is small, with three sepals and three petals. The palm fruit takes five to six months to mature from pollination to maturity and it is reddish, about the size of a large plum, and grows in large bunches.
Each fruit is made up of an oily, fleshy outer layer, with a single seed, when ripe, each bunch of fruit weighs between 5–30 kg depending on the age of the palm tree. Kernel meal are processed for use as livestock feed, all modern, commercial planting material consists of tenera palms or DxP hybrids, which are obtained by crossing thickshelled dura with shell-less pisifera. Although common commercial germinated seed is as thick-shelled as the dura mother palm, an alternative to germinated seed, once constraints to mass production are overcome, are tissue-cultured or clonal palms, which provide true copies of high-yielding DxP palms. An oil palm nursery must have a supply of clean water. Approximately 35 ha can grow enough seedlings over a period to plant a 5. Prenursery seedlings must be watered daily, whenever rainfall is less than 10 mm per day, irrigation is required, and the system must be capable of uniformly applying 6.5 mm water per day. Prenursery seedlings in the stage of development are usually transplanted to the main nursery after their gradual adjustment to full sunlight.
During culling, seedlings that have grassy, twisted, weeds growing in the polybags must be carefully pulled out. Numerous insects and vertebrates are pests in oil palm nurseries and must be identified before control measures are implemented
Agriculture is the cultivation and breeding of animals and fungi for food, biofuel, medicinal plants and other products used to sustain and enhance human life. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of human civilization. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science, the history of agriculture dates back thousands of years, and its development has been driven and defined by greatly different climates and technologies. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture farming has become the dominant agricultural methodology, genetically modified organisms are an increasing component of agriculture, although they are banned in several countries. Agricultural food production and water management are increasingly becoming global issues that are fostering debate on a number of fronts, the major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers and raw materials. Specific foods include cereals, fruits, meats, fibers include cotton, hemp and flax. Raw materials include lumber and bamboo, other useful materials are produced by plants, such as resins, drugs, perfumes and ornamental products such as cut flowers and nursery plants.
The word agriculture is a late Middle English adaptation of Latin agricultūra, from ager, Agriculture usually refers to human activities, although it is observed in certain species of ant and ambrosia beetle. To practice agriculture means to use resources to produce commodities which maintain life, including food, forest products, horticultural crops. This definition includes arable farming or agronomy, and horticulture, all terms for the growing of plants, even then, it is acknowledged that there is a large amount of knowledge transfer and overlap between silviculture and agriculture. In traditional farming, the two are often combined even on small landholdings, leading to the term agroforestry, Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, and included a diverse range of taxa. At least 11 separate regions of the Old and New World were involved as independent centers of origin, wild grains were collected and eaten from at least 105,000 years ago. Pigs were domesticated in Mesopotamia around 15,000 years ago, rice was domesticated in China between 13,500 and 8,200 years ago, followed by mung and azuki beans.
Sheep were domesticated in Mesopotamia between 13,000 and 11,000 years ago. From around 11,500 years ago, the eight Neolithic founder crops and einkorn wheat, hulled barley, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas and flax were cultivated in the Levant. Cattle were domesticated from the aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey. In the Andes of South America, the potato was domesticated between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, along with beans, llamas, alpacas and some root vegetables were domesticated in New Guinea around 9,000 years ago. Sorghum was domesticated in the Sahel region of Africa by 7,000 years ago, cotton was domesticated in Peru by 5,600 years ago, and was independently domesticated in Eurasia at an unknown time
Medicinal plants, medicinal herbs, or simply herbs have been identified and used from prehistoric times. Plants make many chemical compounds for biological functions, including defence against insects, over 12,000 active compounds are known to science. These chemicals work on the body in exactly the same way as pharmaceutical drugs. However, since a plant may contain many substances, the effects of taking a plant as medicine can be complex. The earliest historical records of herbs are found from the Sumerian civilisation, drug research makes use of ethnobotany to search for pharmacologically active substances in nature, and has in this way discovered hundreds of useful compounds. These include the common drugs aspirin, quinine, the compounds found in plants are of many kinds, but most are in four major biochemical classes, the alkaloids, glycosides and terpenes. Medicinal plants are used to treat disease in non-industrialized societies. The annual global export value of plants in 2012 was over US$2.2 billion.
Plants, including many now used as herbs and spices, have been used as medicines from prehistoric times. Spices have been used partly to counter food spoilage bacteria, especially in hot climates, angiosperms were the original source of most plant medicines. Human settlements are surrounded by weeds useful as medicines, such as nettle, dandelion. Humans were not alone in using herbs as medicines, some such as non-human primates, monarch butterflies. Plant samples from prehistoric sites are among the lines of evidence that Paleolithic peoples had knowledge of herbal medicine. The mushroom was used to treat whipworm. In ancient Sumeria, hundreds of plants including myrrh and opium are listed on clay tablets. The ancient Egyptian Ebers Papyrus lists over 800 plant medicines such as aloe, castor bean, juniper, the Chinese pharmacopoeia, the Shennong Ben Cao Jing records plant medicines such as chaulmoogra for leprosy and hemp. This was expanded in the Tang Dynasty Yaoxing Lun, in the fourth century BC, Aristotles pupil Theophrastus wrote the first systematic botany text, Historia plantarum.
In the Early Middle Ages, Benedictine monasteries preserved medical knowledge in Europe and copying classical texts, hildegard of Bingen wrote Causae et Curae on medicine
The apple tree is a deciduous tree in the rose family best known for its sweet, pomaceous fruit, the apple. It is cultivated worldwide as a tree, and is the most widely grown species in the genus Malus. The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. Apples have religious and mythological significance in many cultures, including Norse, Apple trees are large if grown from seed. Generally apple cultivars are propagated by grafting onto rootstocks, which control the size of the resulting tree, There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples, resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Different cultivars are bred for various tastes and uses, including cooking, eating raw and fruit are prone to a number of fungal and pest problems, which can be controlled by a number of organic and non-organic means. In 2010, the genome was sequenced as part of research on disease control.
Worldwide production of apples in 2014 was 84.6 million tonnes, the apple is a deciduous tree, generally standing 1.8 to 4.6 m tall in cultivation and up to 12 m in the wild. When cultivated, the size and branch density are determined by rootstock selection, the leaves are alternately arranged dark green-colored simple ovals with serrated margins and slightly downy undersides. Blossoms are produced in spring simultaneously with the budding of the leaves, the 3 to 4 cm flowers are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades, five petaled, with an inflorescence consisting of a cyme with 4–6 flowers. The central flower of the inflorescence is called the king bloom, it opens first, the fruit matures in late summer or autumn, and cultivars exist with a wide range of sizes. Commercial growers aim to produce an apple that is 7.0 to 8.3 cm in diameter, due to market preference. Some consumers, especially those in Japan, prefer a larger apple, while apples below 5.7 cm are generally used for making juice and have little market value.
The skin of ripe apples is generally red, green, the skin may be wholly or partly russeted i. e. rough and brown. The skin is covered in a layer of epicuticular wax. The exocarp is generally pale yellowish-white, though pink or yellow occur. The original wild ancestor of Malus pumila was Malus sieversii, found growing wild in the mountains of Central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, in strains without recent admixture the contribution of the latter predominates. It had about 57,000 genes, the highest number of any plant genome studied to date and this new understanding of the apple genome will help scientists in identifying genes and gene variants that contribute to resistance to disease and drought, and other desirable characteristics
A cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy drupe. The cherry fruits of commerce usually are obtained from a number of species such as cultivars of the sweet cherry. The name cherry refers to the tree, and is sometimes applied to almonds and visually similar flowering trees in the genus Prunus, as in ornamental cherry, cherry blossom. Wild cherry may refer to any of the species growing outside of cultivation. The subgenus is native to the regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Other cherry fruits are members of subgenus Padus, most eating cherries are derived from either Prunus avium, the sweet cherry, or from Prunus cerasus, the sour cherry. The indigenous range of the sweet cherry extends through most of Europe, western Asia, and parts of northern Africa, and the fruit has been consumed throughout its range since prehistoric times. A cultivated cherry is recorded as having brought to Rome by Lucius Licinius Lucullus from northeastern Anatolia, known as the Pontus region.
Cherries were introduced into England at Teynham, near Sittingbourne in Kent, by order of Henry VIII, cherries arrived in North America early in the settlement of Brooklyn, New York when the region was under Dutch sovereignty. Trades people leased or purchased land to plant orchards and produce gardens, behind the house sold by Anthony Jansen from Salee to Barent Dirksen. Both species originate in Europe and western Asia, they do not cross-pollinate, some other species, although having edible fruit, are not grown extensively for consumption, except in northern regions where the two main species will not grow. Irrigation, spraying and their propensity to damage from rain, demand is high for the fruit. In commercial production, cherries are harvested by using a mechanized shaker, hand picking is widely used to harvest the fruit to avoid damage to both fruit and trees. Common rootstocks include Mazzard, Mahaleb and Gisela Series, sour cherries require no pollenizer, while few sweet varieties are self-fertile.
Like most temperate-latitude trees, cherry seeds require exposure to cold to germinate, the pits are planted in the autumn and seedlings emerge in the spring. A cherry tree will take three to four years in the field to produce its first crop of fruit, and seven years to attain full maturity, because of the cold-weather requirement, none of the Prunus genus can grow in tropical climates. Cherries have a growing season and can grow in most temperate latitudes. Cherries blossom in April and the season for the cherry harvest is in the summer
Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub native to Asia. After water, it is the most widely consumed drink in the world, Tea originated in Southwest China, where it was used as a medicinal drink. It was popularized as a drink during the Chinese Tang dynasty. Portuguese priests and merchants introduced it to Europe during the 16th century, during the 17th century, drinking tea became fashionable among Britons, who started large-scale production and commercialization of the plant in India to bypass the Chinese monopoly. The term herbal tea usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs made without the tea plant, such as steeps of rosehip and these are sometimes called tisanes or herbal infusions to prevent confusion with tea made from the tea plant. The tea industry often uses the term fruit tea to refer to what are in fact fruit-flavored black teas. The Chinese character for tea is 茶, originally written with a stroke as 荼.
The word is pronounced differently in the different varieties of Chinese, such as chá in Mandarin, zo and dzo in Wu Chinese, there were other ancient words for tea, though ming is the only other one still in common use. Most Chinese languages, such as Mandarin and Cantonese, pronounce it along the lines of cha and these two pronunciations have made their separate ways into other languages around the world. Starting in the seventeen century, the Dutch played a dominant role in the early European tea trade via the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch borrowed the word for tea from Min Chinese, either through trade directly from Fujian or Formosa where they had established a port, or from Malay traders in Bantam, Java. The Dutch introduced to other European languages this Min pronunciation for tea, including English tea, French thé, Spanish té and this pronunciation is the most common form worldwide. The Portuguese adopted the Cantonese pronunciation chá, and spread it to India, the Korean and Japanese pronunciations of cha were borrowed into Korean and Japanese during earlier periods of Chinese history.
A third form, the increasingly widespread chai, came from Persian چای chay, both the châ and chây forms are found in Persian dictionaries. English has all three forms, cha or char, attested from the 16th century, from the 17th, the form chai refers specifically to a black tea mixed with honey and milk in contemporary English. Tea plants are native to East Asia, and probably originated around the points of the lands of north Burma. Tea drinking may have begun in the Yunnan region during the Shang Dynasty in China, Chinese legends attribute the invention of tea to Shennong in 2737 BC, although evidence suggests that tea drinking may have been introduced from the southwest of China. The earliest written records of tea come from China, in the Chronicles of Huayang, it was recorded that the Ba people in Sichuan presented tu to the Zhou king
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus Gossypium in the family of Malvaceae. The fiber is almost pure cellulose, under natural conditions, the cotton bolls will tend to increase the dispersal of the seeds. The plant is a native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, Africa. The greatest diversity of wild species is found in Mexico, followed by Australia. Cotton was independently domesticated in the Old and New Worlds, the fiber is most often spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile. Current estimates for world production are about 25 million tonnes or 110 million bales annually, China is the worlds largest producer of cotton, but most of this is used domestically. The United States has been the largest exporter for many years, in the United States, cotton is usually measured in bales, which measure approximately 0.48 cubic meters and weigh 226.8 kilograms.
Cotton cultivation in the region is dated to the Indus Valley Civilization, the Indus cotton industry was well-developed and some methods used in cotton spinning and fabrication continued to be used until the industrialization of India. Between 2000 and 1000 BC cotton became widespread across much of India, for example, it has been found at the site of Hallus in Karnataka dating from around 1000 BC. Cotton fabrics discovered in a cave near Tehuacán, Mexico have been dated to around 5800 BC, the domestication of Gossypium hirsutum in Mexico is dated between 3400 and 2300 BC. Cotton was grown upriver, made into nets, and traded with fishing villages along the coast for supplies of fish. The Spanish who came to Mexico and Peru in the early 16th century found the people growing cotton and this may be a reference to tree cotton, Gossypium arboreum, which is a native of the Indian subcontinent. According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, Cotton has been spun, woven and it clothed the people of ancient India and China.
Hundreds of years before the Christian era, cotton textiles were woven in India with matchless skill, in Iran, the history of cotton dates back to the Achaemenid era, there are few sources about the planting of cotton in pre-Islamic Iran. The planting of cotton was common in Merv and Pars of Iran, in Persian poets poems, especially Ferdowsis Shahname, there are references to cotton. Marco Polo refers to the products of Persia, including cotton. John Chardin, a French traveler of the 17th century who visited the Safavid Persia, during the Han dynasty, cotton was grown by Chinese peoples in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan. Mohamed Ali Pasha accepted the proposition and granted himself the monopoly on the sale and export of cotton in Egypt, and dictated cotton should be grown in preference to other crops
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial nightshade Solanum tuberosum. The word potato may refer either to the plant itself or to the edible tuber, in the Andes, where the species is indigenous, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species. Potatoes were introduced to Europe in the half of the 16th century by the Spanish. It is the worlds fourth-largest food crop, following maize, the green leaves and green skins of tubers exposed to the light are toxic. Wild potato species can be throughout the Americas from the United States to southern Chile. Following centuries of breeding, there are now over a thousand different types of potatoes. However, the importance of the potato is variable and changing rapidly. As of 2007 China led the world in production, and nearly a third of the worlds potatoes were harvested in China. The English word potato comes from Spanish patata, the Spanish Royal Academy says the Spanish word is a compound of the Taíno batata and the Quechua papa.
The 16th-century English herbalist John Gerard used the terms bastard potatoes and Virginia potatoes for this species, potatoes are occasionally referred to as Irish potatoes or white potatoes in the United States, to distinguish them from sweet potatoes. The name spud for a small potato comes from the digging of soil prior to the planting of potatoes, the word spud traces back to the 16th century. It subsequently transferred over to a variety of digging tools, around 1845, the name transferred to the tuber itself. It was Mario Peis 1949 The Story of Language that can be blamed for the false origin. Pei writes, the potato, for its part, was in disrepute some centuries ago, some Englishmen who did not fancy potatoes formed a Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet. The initials of the words in this title gave rise to spud. Like most other pre-20th century acronymic origins, this is false, Potato plants are herbaceous perennials that grow about 60 cm high, depending on variety, with the leaves dying back after flowering and tuber formation.
They bear white, red, blue, or purple flowers with yellow stamens, in general, the tubers of varieties with white flowers have white skins, while those of varieties with colored flowers tend to have pinkish skins. Potatoes are mostly cross-pollinated by insects such as bumblebees, which carry pollen from other potato plants, tubers form in response to decreasing day length, although this tendency has been minimized in commercial varieties