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potato
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: common potato, white potato, Irish potato
CATEGORY: flora
DEFINITION: One of some 150 tuber-bearing species of the genus Solanum (family Solanaceae). The potato is considered by most botanists a native of the Peruvian-Bolivian Andes and is one of the world's main food crops. At the time of the Spanish conquest, potatoes were grown all over the highlands from Colombia to Chile. Unlike maize, the potato flourishes at high altitudes and was the basic staple of many of the societies of the Altiplano, such as Tiahunaco.
sweet potato
CATEGORY: flora
DEFINITION: Food plant native to tropical America and widely cultivated in tropical and the warmer temperate climates, not to be confused with the yam. It is reported from sites in Peru as early as 8000 BC. During the mid-1st millennium AD, the sweet potato was carried by prehistoric voyagers into eastern Polynesia and became important in the prehistoric economies of Easter Island, the Hawaiian Islands, and New Zealand. It spread further after Spanish settlement of the New World; since the 16th century it has been very important to the New Guinea Highlands.

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