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ABBREVIATIONS USED

U. S. D. A.-United States Department of Agriculture, in

connection with reports or bulletins. E. S. R., V:33—Experiment Station Record, Volume V.,

page 33. Issued by the United States Department of

Agriculture, Office of Experiment Stations. Experiment Stations in the various States are designated by

the common abbreviation for the State-as, “Wis.”: Wisconsin. Where there are two stations in a State, the particular one is designated-as, New York (N. Y.) Cornell. The number of the bulletin follows. Some States issue their bulletins in volumes, thus: Tenn. Bul., Vol. XI., I., P. 116—Tennessee Bulletin, Volume XI.,

No. I., page 116. Pa. D. A.-Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. State

Departments of Agriculture are abbreviated in this

manner. Can. Exp. Farms Report, 1901, p. 117–Canada Experi

mental Farms Report for 1901, page 117. Ont. Agr. Col. and Farm Report, 1898, p. 158_Ontario

Agricultural College and Farm Report for 1898, page

158. Hort. Trans., Vol. 1.-Horticultural Transactions of Eng

land, Vol. I. Nat. His. of Car.-Natural History of Carolina. By Mark

Catesby, F.R.S. Second Edition. London. Proc. Assoc. Prom. Agr. Science-Proceedings of the

Association for the Promotion of Agricultural Science

(America).

THE POTATO

CHAPTER I

HISTORY AND BOTANY

The potato (Solanum tuberosum), also called “white potato,” “Irish potato,” “English potato," or “round potato,” is a native of the elevated valleys of Chili, Peru, and Mexico, one form of it being found as far north as Southern Colorado. The wild potatoes of Chili differ from the cultivated form, in that they produce seed-balls more freely.

Tobacco, tomato, egg-plant, capsicum, henbane, and belladonna all belong to the potato family, but of this large family of 1600 species but six bear tubers. Some of these latter-as, Darwin's potato (Solanum maglia)were thought to have some value for crossing to produce a blight-proof new race, but so far success has not been attained in the latter respect. A variety of Solanum commersoni, another tuber-bearing plant, is now being boomed in Europe as a substitute for the common potato. The Arizona wild potato (Solanum jamesii) has been grown for many years in this country in various places, but its tubers are small and of little value. The Mexican or Central American potato (Solanum tuberosum var. boreale) is found native in Colorado.

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FIG. 2—COPY OF ENGRAVING OF THE VIRGINIAN POTATO IN

GERARD'S “HERBAL," PRINTED IN 1636 (Compare with photograph, Figs. 5, 6.) In England the name Virginian

potato was used to designate its source.

The potato was probably introduced into that part of the United States now known as Virginia and North Carolina between the middle and close of the sixteenth century. It is claimed that in 1586 colonists returning from Virginia probably took the potato with

them to England. The Spanish had previously carried it to Europe. Gerard's “Herbal,” published in 1597, describes the potato, and the edition published in 1636 contains a woodcut representing the potato as it appeared about three hundred years ago (Fig. 2). The potato was more readily appreciated in this country than in Europe, and by the year 1722 it was a common article of food among the whites and Indians in Virginia and Carolina.' In Europe, with the exception of Ireland, potato growing made little progress until the middle of the eighteenth century. ( The potato (Solanum tuberosum) is an annual, but is virtually perennial by means of its tubers. It has smooth, generally solid, more or less quadrangular, herbaceous stenis, which often attain a hight of two to five feet. The stems are often furnished with membranous wings at their angles, and bear compound leaves formed of oval leaflets, between which are often found small, leafy growths. The flowers (Fig. 3) are borne in clusters, and have an entire, wheel-shaped, five-pointed corolla, varying in breadth from one to one and a half inches, and in color from pure white to purple. It is often claimed that many varieties do not flower, and of those which do a great number never bear fruit. This dearth of fruit is generally attributed to lack of pollen. In many varieties the stamens have degenerated, or do not open to let the pollen out.' Conditions seem to have an influence, as a variety may bear abundance of pollen and mature seed in one district, but not in another in the same year.

1 “Nat. His. of Carolina,”' by Mark Catesby, F.R.S., 2d ed. ? Halstead, Proc. Assoc. Prom. Agr. Science, 1888, p. 33, “Potato Flowers and Fruit."

The idea is prevalent that potatoes do not bloom so freely now as formerly. The facts do not tend to confirm this. Mark Catesby, who was in this country in 1722 and 1726, wrote that "in Virginia and to the

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FIG. 3-SECTIONAL VIEW OF POTATO FLOWER

(Diagrammatic) a-Ovary. 6-Ovules, which finally become seeds. C—Calyx, made up of green-colored leaves. d-Stigma. The pollen attaches itself at this place. e-Style, down which the pollen-tube passes to the ovary and ovules. p-Petals, white to purple in color. s-Stamens. The thick upper portion

bears the pollen, and is known as the anther.

north thereof, they [potatoes) are annuals, and produce no flowers, while in Carolina and the Bahama Islands they produce flowers." Many varieties existed at that time, particularly in Virginia, and five kinds were common—the Common, Bermudas, Brimstone, Carrot,

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