Potato: Glycoalkaloid Toxicity

Greened potato (Solanum tuberosum) tubers

All things are poison, and nothing is without poison, the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison.  -Paracelsus Introduction Potatoes are poisonous.  You probably knew that if you are reading this blog, but it would be understandable if you had missed this fact throughout the years that you have been shoveling […]

Mashua: Tetraploid Variability

Twelve sets of three tubers each of seedlings out of Blanca mashua. Each is a little bit different, with mostly white or light yellow skin and various shades of red or purple eyes.

The domesticated varieties of mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum) are tetraploid, meaning that they have four copies of each chromosome.  This allows the plant to carry twice the genetic diversity of a diploid organism (like most animals and many plants).  Balanced against that, mashua is most likely an autoploid, meaning that it became tetraploid by doubling its […]

Potato: Morphological Observations of USDA Accessions 2017

A pile of tiny tubers collected from seedlings of Careta Amarilla. Most ar round and colors include yellow, orange, red, and purple.

This post is not really meant to be read start to finish.  The intent is that it will be picked up by search engines so that breeders and researchers working with these accessions in the future can find this information. We use accessions supplied by the USDA in some of our breeding work.  This report […]

Jerusalem Artichoke: True Seed Production

Some of the more frequent questions that people ask me center on obtaining seed from Jerusalem artichokes for breeding.  Many crops that are propagated from tubers have a reduced capability for sexual reproduction.  You will see this theme come up again and again in this blog, but the details differ from one species to another. […]

Tatar Bread Plant: Seedling Variation

This seedling has deeply lobed leaves.

I have been working with Tartar Bread Plant (Crambe tataria) for a few years.  In my opinion, it has great potential as a sort of perennial mustard green.  I think perennial leaf crops are highly desirable; they often provide an earlier harvest than seed grown crops and can be a substantial labor savings.  Not much […]

Potato: A Cytoplasm Primer

A diagram of a plant cell, showing the major organelles and structural components.

If it has been a long time since high school biology and you are rusty on the concept of cytoplasm, you can be forgiven.  It’s not something that most of us think about very often, but it is important to potato breeding, so let’s review. Cytoplasm is everything that is inside a cell but outside […]

Potato: What You Should Know About Potato Fruits

Berries collected from domesticated potatoes

Overview Potato plants sometimes flower and then form berries. Potato berries form only in favorable weather and with sufficient pollination. Potato berries contain seeds that you can grow. The berries are toxic and should not be eaten. There is not usually any reason to remove the berries from the plant. Whenever spring and summer weather […]

Potato: Color Genetics

A Summary of Potato Color Genetics Introduction Genes Controlling Color Pigments   Purple and Red   Yellow and Orange Color Distribution   Flower Color   Foliage Color Russeting Known Genotypes Introduction For many crops, you don’t have to search very far to find a nice summary chart of the major genes involved in economically important […]

Potato: A Summary of Wild Species and Their Qualities

This page is out of date, although I still find it useful for looking up synonyms and abbreviations.  For more detailed information about wild potato species, see our wild potato guide. This is one of those posts that is as much for my reference as anyone else’s.  Surprisingly, it is hard to find a simple […]