Return to Wild Potato IndexPurchase seeds or tubers of Solanum berthaultii

Solanum berthaultii

Common Name(s)Ck’ipa ch’ogue, Ita papa, Lluttu papa 
Solanum berthaultii plant
Solanum berthaultii plant
SynonymsS. flavoviridens, S. tarijense, S. trigalense, S. x litusinum, S. x zudaniense
PloidyDiploid (2x), Triploid (3x)
Tuberization PhotoperiodShort day
Cytoplasm TypeT, W (Hosaka 2009, as S. tarijense)
Hawkes: Bull. Imp. Bur. Pl. Breed. Genet., Cambridge 45, 122. 1944


Solanum berthaultii distribution map
Solanum berthaultii distribution map

Solanum berthaultii (berthaultii, in honor of French potato expert Pierre Berthault) is native to central Bolivia.  It forms large plants, three feet tall or more.  The berries are green and speckled.  Tubers are round and white, reaching about an inch, perhaps 2 inches in cultivation.  Flowers blue to purple or sometimes white (Correll 1962). It grows in dry areas, primarily between 6500 and 8500 feet in elevation (2000 and 2600 m) (Ochoa 1990).

S. berthaultii is thought to be the wild ancestor of the domesticated Chilean potato (S. tuberosum, Chilotanum group) and crosses between the two, using S. berthaultii as the female parent and Andean domesticated tetraploids as the male parent have produced long day adapted progeny with characteristics similar to Chilean potatoes (Hosaka 2018, as S. tarijense).


S. berthaultii is of interest to modern potato breeders because its leaves are covered in glandular hairs that can immobilize small insects.  This feature could be valuable for controlling aphid infestations and thereby reducing the transmission of viruses.  Gibson (1971) reported that 30% of aphids were completely immobilized within 24 hours of introduction onto the leaves.  The same mechanism works to deter potato leafhoppers by gumming up their mouth parts, leaving them unable to feed (Tingey 1978).  Gibson (1983) found that the leaf hairs also exude a substance that mimics the aphid alarm pheromone and causes them to avoid the plants.

S. berthaultii appears to deter the Colorado potato beetle by emitting a semiochemical (signalling chemical) that the beetles can detect (Pelletier 1999).  On S. berthaultii, CPB lay fewer eggs (Wright 1985), the larvae take longer to develop, and larval mortality is higher than for S. tuberosum (Groden 1986).

This species can survive frosts down to 27.5 degrees F (-2.5 C) (Li 1977).  Vega (1995) found that this species is less frost tolerant than domesticated potato.  Because it grows in dry environments, it may also be a useful source of drought tolerance.

ConditionTypeLevel of ResistanceSource
AphidInvertebrateSomewhat resistantGibson 1971, Gibson 1983, Machida-Hirano 2015
AphidInvertebrateNot resistant to resistantAlvarez 2006
Colorado Potato BeetleInvertebrateSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
Colorado Potato BeetleInvertebrateResistantPelletier 1999
Early BlightFungusResistantPrasad 1980
Epitrix harilana rubiaInvertebrateSomewhat resistantCIP 1979
Heterodera rostochiensisInvertebrateSomewhat resistantRothaker 1961
Late BlightFungusSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
Liriomyza huidobrensisInvertebrateSomewhat resistantCIP 1977
Polyphagotarsonemus latusInvertebrateSomewhat resistantCIP 1977
Potato Cyst NematodeInvertebrateSomewhat resistantCIP 1978, Machida-Hirano 2015
Potato LeafhopperInvertebrateSomewhat resistantTingey 1978
Potato Spindle Tuber ViroidVirusSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
Potato Virus XVirusSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
Root Knot NematodeInvertebrateSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
Spider MitesInvertebrateSomewhat resistantGibson 1976
Tetranichus urticaeInvertebrateSomewhat resistantCIP 1977
Thrips tabaciInvertebrateSomewhat resistantCIP 1977
WartFungusSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015

Glykoalkaloid content

Tingey (1982) found that accessions of S. berthaultii had different TGA compositions, with 51 of 65 accessions having primarily solamarine and the remainder primarily solanine and chaconine.  The lower limit of TGA detected was 5 mg / 100 g and the upper limit was unstated.  Gregory (1981) counted the TGA levels in S. berthaultii as undetectable.  Van Gelder (1988) found 16mg / 100 g for this species.  It seems that S. berthaultii varies quite a bit in TGA composition.  It appears that it might be edible, although I have not tested this.


Solanum berthaultii plant
Solanum berthaultii plant
Solanum berthaultii plant
Solanum berthaultii plant
Flower of the wild potato species Solanum berthaultii
Solanum berthaultii flower
Flower of the wild potato species Solanum berthaultii
Solanum berthaultii flower


I have found seeds of this species easy to germinate using the standard conditions for S. tuberosum.

Bamberg (2017) found a 275% increase in seed set in this species with supplemental applications of liquid fertilizer at four and seven weeks after potting.


Gibson (1979) found that sticky tipped leaf hairs are a single-gene, dominant trait in S. berthaultii.

Crosses with S. tuberosum

Gibson (1974) reported that four crosses of S. tuberosum x S. berthaultii produced aphid trapping hairs and that one of the plants produced substantially more of these hairs than either parent.  Gibson (1979) found that, in reciprocal crosses between S. berthaultii and diploid S. tuberosum, first generation progeny did not develop sticky leaf hairs, but some crosses made from among the progeny did, suggesting that there is an additional recessive gene at work.

FemaleMaleBerry Set
Seed SetGermPloidySource
S. berthaultii (including S. tarijense)S. tuberosumNoneNone  Jackson (1999)
S. tuberosum 4xS. berthaultiiModerateMinimal  Jackson (1999)

Crosses with other species

Jackson (1999) found 0-13% 2n pollen for varieties of this species.

FemaleMaleBerry Set
Seed SetGermPloidySource
S. berthaultiiS. brevicaule (as S. alandiae)HighHigh  Ochoa (1990)
S. berthaultiiS. brevicaule 6x (as S. oplocense)YesNone  Ochoa (1990)
S. berthaultii (as S. litusinum)S. candolleanumYesYes  Ochoa (1990)
S. berthaultiiS. chacoenseYesYes  Ochoa (1990)
S. berthaultii (as S. tarijense)S. infundibuliformeModerateLow  Ochoa (1990)
S. brevicaule (as S. alandiae)S. berthaultiiHighHigh  Ochoa (1990)
S. brevicaule 6x (as S. oplocense)S. berthaultiiYesNone  Ochoa (1990)
S. infundibuliformeS. berthaultii (as S. tarijense)HighHigh  Ochoa (1990)


Solanum berthaultii at Solanaceae Source

Solanum berthaultii at GRIN Taxonomy

Solanum berthaultii at CIP

Leave a Reply