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Potato plants are herbaceous perennials that grow about 60 cm (24 in) high, depending on variety, with the leaves dying back after flowering, fruiting and tuber formation.

They bear white, pink, red, blue, or purple flowers with yellow stamens.

The 16th-century English herbalist John Gerard referred to sweet potatoes as "common potatoes", and used the terms "bastard potatoes" and "Virginia potatoes" for the species we now call "potato".

The name spud for a small potato comes from the digging of soil (or a hole) prior to the planting of potatoes.

Potato has become a staple food in many parts of the world and an integral part of much of the world's food supply.

It is the world's fourth-largest food crop, following maize, wheat, and rice.

In the Andes, where the species is indigenous, some other closely related species are cultivated.

Potatoes were introduced to Europe in the second half of the 16th century by the Spanish.

The English word potato comes from Spanish patata (the name used in Spain).

Around 1845, the name transferred to the tuber itself.

The origin of the word "spud" has erroneously been attributed to an 18th-century activist group dedicated to keeping the potato out of Britain, calling itself The Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet .

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