The Potato Blight - Its Origin
The fungus that decimated the potato fields of Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century is well named. Phytopthora infestans, literally "infesting plant destroyer," can, under the right conditions, reduce the foliage of a field of potatoes into a putrid mass in just a few days. A common disease of potatoes wherever they are grown, the devastating fungus is particularly prevalent in areas where the weather is unusually cool and wet, such as it is in Ireland. Remaining localized during the years where weather conditions were warm and dry, the disease became widespread in the wet years of the mid-1840s.
• Crossing from North America to Belgium in 1843, the potato blight traveled to the Isle of Wight and then to England. Following its devastation of the potato crops in both France and Holland, the fungus appeared in Ireland in September 1845 where it promptly destroyed about forty percent of the country's potato crop. In 1846, almost one hundred percent of the crop was lost. The year 1847 was considered the worst of all because of the especially harsh winter; crops fared no better from 1848-49. These losses were catastrophic to the people who lived in rural Ireland because of their forced and complete dependence on the potato.
• The disease remained a mystery to botanists, who mistakenly attributed its cause to
[Illustration captions read]
From: The Illustrated London News, 1849:
Left: Searching for potatoes in a stubble field.
Right: The potato plant.
Erected 2003 by Concerned Citizens and Organizations. (Marker Number 2.)
Location. 39° 56.879′ N, 75° 8.531′ W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. Marker is at the intersection of Chestnut Street and Front Street, on the right when traveling east on Chestnut Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: I-95 Park (100 South Front Street), Philadelphia PA 19106, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least
More about this marker. Marker is part of The Irish Memorial.
Also see . . .
1. The Irish Memorial [Philadelphia]. (Submitted on March 28, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. The Irish Potato Famine, 1847. (Submitted on March 28, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Great Irish Famine Commemoration. (Submitted on March 28, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. Irish Famine Archive. (Submitted on March 28, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Agriculture • Disasters • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 28, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 28, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 116 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 28, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.