By Sarah Fiorello

Solanum tuberosum

Solanum tuberosum potato varieties were often referred to by enslaved people in the American south as “Irish potatoes” to distinguish them from sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas). Due to the hot southern climate, potatoes were eaten when they were fresh and not stored for extended periods of time. It was common practice to wrap potatoes in cabbage leaves and roast them in hot coals. Enslaved people also used “Irish potatoes” for pies and puddings.

Medicinal Uses

Sliced raw potato was sometimes used as a poultice to treat burns and to ease joint pain from arthritis and rheumatism. Potatoes are rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and phosphorous and help reduce acidity in the body. High levels of acidity promotes gout, arthritis, rheumatism, and other chronic diseases.

Varieties growing in this display

Solanum tuberosum ‘Carola’ (mid yellow)
Solanum tuberosum ‘Desiree’ (late rose/yellow)
Solanum tuberosum ‘Red Gold’ (early red)
Solanum tuberosum ‘Elba’ (late white)
Solanum tuberosum ‘Blue Gold’ (mid blue)
Solanum tuberosum ‘Natascha’ (early yellow)

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