Are Potatoes A Root? Know The Fact About This

Potatoes are one popular staple that we love to have in our dishes. It is even one of the most consumable foods worldwide. It is true that potatoes are inclined to grow underground, but are they root, stem, or fruit? What exactly are they? Are potatoes a root? Or are they stems? Let’s find out.

Usually, it may look like potatoes are roots because after all, they grow underground and most of the things that grow underground are termed as roots. However, there is another belief that potatoes are stem. So, which one of all these suggestions should we believe?

Well, we are all answering these questions in this post so continue reading to gain some insight about this question.

Are Potatoes A Root?

The straight-up answer is that potato isn’t a root and potato isn’t really a stem. So, what then is it?

Potato can be regarded as a modified stem known as a tuber. This tuber grows or develops from an underground stem that is known as a stolon. Then they act as storage for food or starch which is later used by the plant.

So, now that we have established that potato is a type of modified stem known as a tuber, let’s further look into what makes them tubers.

Are Potatoes A Root

Why Are Potatoes Regarded As Tuber? Are Potatoes A Root?

So, biologically speaking, potatoes are tuberous stems and potato is that part of the stem that is swollen and grown underground. It is genetics that causes the swelling of the potato stem and swelling is caused by the accumulation of starch.

Once a plant begins to adapt to certain environmental conditions, modifications begin to occur on different parts of the plant. Now, we refer to this modification as geophytes.

These tubers are typically the swollen parts of a plant that develops to store nutrients for the entire plant. Then the stored nutrient can be utilized later by the plant. Hence, these modifications help facilitate perennation (this is the ability of plants to survive during unfavorable conditions or seasons).

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Why Do We Regard Potatoes As Stem And Not A Root?

We consider potato to be a stem mainly because their tubers consist of all parts of a typical stem. Now, these parts include terminals, axillary buds, nodes, internodes, pedicels, and petioles.

So, here we have explained how each of these parts functions:

1.    Nodes

The node is that point where the stems, buds, and leaves, as well as other crucial elements of a plant, develop. Nodes are also helpful to plants in terms of facilitating the healing of a plant after injuries.

2.    Internodes

Internodes are that point or zone that connects two nodes. Internodes help in promoting the transportation of food, water, as well as minerals in between the nodes. Note that the larger the internodes, the plant, or the bigger the potato will be as in this case.

3.    Petiole – Are Potatoes A Root?

The petiole is the stalk that connects the leaves and the nodes. They help promote the transportation of minerals and water to the leaves and food transportation from the leaves to other parts of the plants after photosynthesis.

4.    Lateral Bud

The section that develops between the petiole and the stem is regarded as lateral bud. Most times, lateral buds are usually dormant. However, they can develop into leaves, flowers, or stems.

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Are Potatoes A Root?

5.    Terminal Bud

The vertical growth of a particular plant is controlled by the terminal bud. The development of more buds is prevented by the terminal bud and this ensures a plant has the ability to grow vertically.

6.    Leaves – Are Potatoes A Root?

The leaves are the primary organs that develop from the nodes. They are broad and thin structures that usually appear along the petiole and at the end of the petiole. The majority of leaves are green and this includes the potato leaves and which assist in transpiration, photosynthesis, and respiration.

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7.    Pedicels

The pedicel is that part of the flower stalk that connects the flower to the stem of the plant.

8.    Flowers – Are Potatoes A Root?

A flower is that part that promotes pollination as well as sexual production in plants. These flowers can come in various colors and they are located at the end of a pedicel.

Side Note: the type of potato being discussed above is Irish potato (also called white potato). Therefore, the Irish potato is a stem tuber.

Potato Flowers

Sweet Potato: Is It A Root Tuber Or Stem Tuber?

We have pointed out that it is Irish potato that is known as stem tubers. But what about sweet potatoes?

Although sweet potato and Irish potato share the same names (potato) and they also belong to the same family: these two potatoes are however not both stem tubers. Sweet potatoes are root tubers while Irish potatoes on the other hand are stem tubers.

Differences Between Irish Tuber Stems And Sweet Potato Tuber Root

Irish potatoes are grown from seed tubers. Then sweet potatoes on the other hand are grown from small seedlings that were developed from growing sweet potatoes and the seedlings are known as slips.

The root tubers of sweet potatoes are also modified roots and this serves as storage organs for the entire plant. Similar to the stem tubers of Irish potato, the root tubers of sweet potatoes also store food to be utilized for the future growing season. Then after a growing season, the sweet potato plant dies and develops new shoots in the subsequent season.

Another obvious difference between sweet potato and Irish potato is that sweet potato does not have nodes, internodes, and all other characteristics that make Irish potato a stem tuber.

Differences Between Irish Tuber Stems And Sweet Potato Tuber Root

Another good example of a root tuber is cassava.

Conclusion – Are Potatoes A Root?

The question: are potatoes a root has been answered. We have explained from the above that potatoes are stems or modified stems. So, we hope you have been adequately enlightened about this.


Are potatoes vegetables or roots?

Potatoes can be regarded as vegetables because vegetables are any part of a plant that is edible. Specifically speaking, potatoes are a kind of root vegetables that are tubers.

Why is potato not a root?

Although potatoes tend to grow from underground and most things that grow from underground are referred to as roots, this isn’t the case for potatoes. So, potato is not a root, rather it is a type of modified stem.

Is a potato a root or a bulb?

Potatoes are neither a root nor a true bulb. But technically and specifically speaking, potatoes are stems or modified tuber stems. This means that the stems of potatoes have been genetically modified to bring about swelling and this swelling is the accumulation of starch.

Is potato is a root or fruit?

Potatoes are not a root but rather modified stem tubers. They are not also fruit either and this is because they grow from roots rather than flowers. But potato plants do produce inedible fruits that resemble a cherry tomato but these fruits are toxic.

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