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Solanum ajanhuiri


Solanum ajanhuiri distribution map
Solanum ajanhuiri distribution map

S. ajanhuiri (ajanhuri is a Latinization of the native name) is perhaps better included among the cultivated species than the wild, but as a wild species hybrid, the dividing line isn’t entirely clear.  This species is treated more like a wild species in breeding programs.

This species is cultivated primarily in the Bolivian and Peruvian altiplano, where it is valuable for its early bearing and frost resistance.  Plants grow about 14 to 18 inches tall, although some take a more wild-type rosette form.  Plants can have very different forms.  Two accessions grown here were so different that I though there had been a mistake.  One had large, broad leaves and a structure similar to domesticated tetraploids, while the other produced plants very similar to S. juzepczukii.  Most varieties have blue skin and some have blue flesh, less commonly white skin and yellow flesh, but only white varieties are currently available in the USA.  Flowers blue or less commonly white.  Berries, round, small, less than an inch, uncommon, but still present on most plants when other domesticated potatoes are in flower.

Relationships Between Andean Domesticated Potatoes
Relationships Between Andean Domesticated Potatoes

The origin of S. ajanhuiri is believed to be as a hybrid between diploid S. tuberosum subsp. andigenum (S. stenotomum) and S. boliviense.  This is a contrast to the other frost resistant highland species, S. juzepczukii and S. curtilobum, which arose from crosses and backcrosses between S. tuberosum ssp. andigenum and S. acaule.  Some varieties of S. ajanhuiri may have been produced by backcrosses with either of the parent species.

Unlike the other frost resistant hybrid species, S. juzepczukii and S. curtilobum, S. ajanhuiri does not have high glycoalkaloids and can generally be eaten without processing (Ochoa 1990).


S. ajanhuiri appears to have frost resistance that is nearly the equal of S. acaule, down to at least 23 degrees F and perhaps as low as 21.  One accession grown here, PI 599279, had frost resistance no better than domesticated tetraploids.  The other, PI 599280, survived several frosts undamaged.

Condition Type Level of Resistance Source
Frost Abiotic Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015
Drought Abiotic Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015
Phytophthora infestans (Late Blight) Fungus Not resistant Bachmann-Pfabe 2019
Potato Virus X (PVX) Virus Somewhat resistant Ochoa 1990

Glykoalkaloid content

Osman (1978) found a TGA level of 7.1 mg /100 g for a single accession of this species.  Because the putative parent species S. boliviense is high in glycoalkaloids, it is probably not safe to assume that all varieties have levels this low, but S. ajanhuiri is generally considered safe to eat without processing.

Johns 1986b tested wild, weedy collections of S. ajanhuiri and found a range of 4 to 12 mg / 100 g.  In different accessions, the primary glycoalkaloids were either solamarine or commersonine and tomatine.  They also tested two domesticated clones and found levels of 10.5 and 13 mg / 100 g.  The domesticated clones had primary glycoalkaloid compositions of either solamarine or solanine and chaconine.  So, it seems that the glycoalkaloid composition of S. ajanhuiri is rather unpredictable.

Both of the accessions available in the USA are non-bitter and presumably low in glycoalkaloids.


Aerial plant of the potato species Solanum ajanhuri
Solanum ajanhuri plant
Aerial plant of the potato species Solanum ajanhuiri
Solanum ajanhuri plant
Tubers of the USDA potato accession PI 599279
USDA PI 599279
Potato tubers of USDA PI 599279
USDA PI 599279
Tubers of the USDA potato accession PI 599280
USDA PI 599280
Potato tubers of USDA PI 599280
USDA PI 599280


I have found cultivation of this species to be essentially the same as for other domesticated Andean potatoes (S. tuberosum subsp. andigenum).

This species is propagated almost exclusively from tubers.  With hand pollination, it is occasionally possible to get a little true seed, but never enough to make it a practical means of propagation.

All varieties are noted to be significantly male sterile, but not completely.  Seed has been obtained from crosses between different varieties of S. ajanhuiri.


Crosses with S. tuberosum

Female Male Berry Set
Seed Set Germ Ploidy Source

Crosses with other species

Female Male Berry Set
Seed Set Germ Ploidy Source


Solanum ajanhuiri at Solanaceae Source

Solanum ajanhuiri at GRIN Taxonomy