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Solanum brevicaule

Description

Solanum brevicaule distribution map
Solanum brevicaule distribution map

Solanum brevicaule (brevicaule, meaning short stemmed) is primarily distributed from southern Peru to central Bolivia.  Plants reach about two feet tall, occasionally up to three feet.  Stolons reach 3-4 feet long, perhaps as long as six feet in some cases (Ochoa 1990, as S. sparsipilum).  Tubers round to ovate, one to two inches long, larger in cultivation, mostly white to tan, but I ran accross one accession that produces some blue tubers.  Flowers light blue to dark blue.  Berries round to ovate, typically speckled.  Found up to about the 13,000 foot elevation, but mostly lower.  Often grows in dry environments and has good drought resistance.

Solanum brevicaule is a geographically and morphologically diverse species.  Boundaries between it and its nearest relatives are uncertain.  Twenty species, including diploids, tetraploids, and hexaploids, are often lumped together in a “Solanum brevicaule Complex.”  Van den Berg (1998) and Alvarez (2008) performed comprehensive morphological studies of the species in the S. brevicaule Complex and found little basis for division into more than three species, but inconclusive evidence even for that.  The future probably holds additional taxonomic consolidation of S. brevicaule and its closest relatives.

1650 seeds per gram.

This species has been tentatively classified as lower concern on the IUCN Red List (Cadima 2014).

Resistances

Bethke (2017) scored wild potato species as a composite of seven resistance studies and S. brevicaule (as S. tarijense) ranked in second place.

This species can survive frosts down to 26 degrees F (-3.5 C) (Li 1977, as S. fendleri).  Vega (1995) found that this species is more frost tolerant than domesticated potato.  It has a dormancy period lasting several months.

Condition Type Level of Resistance Source
Alternaria solani (Early Blight) Fungus Somewhat resistant Jansky 2008
Frost Abiotic Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015
Fusarium sambucinum (Fusarium Wilt) Fungus Somewhat resistant Lynch 2003 (as S. gourlayi)
Globodera pallida (Pale Cyst Nematode) Invertebrate Somewhat resistant Bachmann-Pfabe 2019 (under various synonyms)
Globodera rostochiensis (Potato Cyst/Golden Nematode) Invertebrate Somewhat resistant Jackson 1988
Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Colorado Potato Beetle) Invertebrate Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. gourlayi)
Macrosiphum euphorbiae (Potato Aphid) Invertebrate Not resistant to moderately resistant Alvarez 2006 (as S. hondelmannii and S. spegazzinii)
Meloidogyne incognita (Root Knot Nematode) Invertebrate Resistant Nirula 1967 (as S. spegazzinii)
Meloidogyne spp. (Root Knot Nematode) Invertebrate Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. gourlayi)
Myzus persicae (Green Peach Aphid) Invertebrate Resistant Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. palustre)
Pectobacterium carotovorum (Blackleg/Soft Rot) Bacterium Somewhat resistant Chung 2011, Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. leptophyes)
Phytophthora infestans (Late Blight) Fungus Not resistant Gonzales 2002
Phytophthora infestans (Late Blight) Fungus Not resistant Bachmann-Pfabe 2019
Phytophthora infestans (Late Blight) Fungus Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015, Bachmann-Pfabe 2019 (under various synonyms)
Potato Leafroll Virus (PLRV) Virus Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. gourlayi)
Potato Virus X (PVX) Virus Resistant Horvath 1989 (as S. alandiae)
Potato Virus X (PVX) Virus Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. leptophyes)
Potato Virus Y (PVY) Virus Resistant Horvath 1989 (as S. alandiae)
Potato Virus Y (PVY) Virus Not resistant Cai 2011
Rhizoctonia solani (Black Scurf) Fungus Somewhat resistant Ochoa 1990 (as S. leptophyes)
Tobacco Rattle Virus (TRV) Virus Resistant Horvath 1989 (as S. alandiae)

Glykoalkaloid content

S. brevicaule is probably not safe to eat, other than in very small amounts and perhaps not even then.  The lines that we have grown here and tasted have dry flesh and thick, chewy skin with a strong flavor characteristic of baking potatoes, but an intensely bitter aftertaste or even a burning sensation.

Johns (1990) found glykoalkaloid levels of 23mg/100g to 164mg/100g for eight accessions of S. brevicaule (some as S. sparsipilum).  The primary glycoalkaloids were solanine and chaconine. Van Gelder (1988) found TGA levels ranging from 95 to 175 mg / 100 g for S. brevicaule, 113 to 163 as S. gourlayi, 71 to 135 mg / 100g as S. leptophyes, 40 to 60 mg / 100 g as S. oplocense, 17 to 220 as S. spegazzinii, and 77 to 156 as S. sucrense.  Collapsing all the synonyms gives a total range of 17 to 220 mg / 100 g.  This is is a large range, with some flirting with edibility but many clearly in the danger zone.

Images

Solanum brevicaule tubers
Solanum brevicaule tubers
Solanum brevicaule tubers
Solanum brevicaule tubers
Solanum brevicaule plant
Solanum brevicaule plant
Solanum brevicaule plant
Solanum brevicaule plant
Tubers of the wild potato species Solanum brevicaule
Solanum brevicaule tubers
Solanum brevicaule flowers
Solanum brevicaule flowers
Solanum brevicaule flower
Solanum brevicaule flower
Solanum brevicaule flowers and pollen
Solanum brevicaule flowers and pollen
Solanum brevicaule berries
Solanum brevicaule berries
Solanum brevicaule seeds
Solanum brevicaule seeds
Tubers of the wild potato species Solanum brevicaule
Solanum brevicaule tubers
Tubers of the wild potato species Solanum brevicaule
Solanum brevicaule tubers

Cultivation

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

Due to the length of the stolons, most growers will want to contain the plants in some way.  We grow wild potatoes with long stolons in buried fabric pots, which prevents them from getting out of control.  A 5 gallon fabric pot works well for most wild potatoes.

The USDA potato genebank has observed that some accessions of this species are dependent upon GA3 for germination (Bamberg 1999).

Bamberg (2017) found a 86% increase in seed set in this species with supplemental applications of liquid fertilizer at four and seven weeks after potting.

Trapero-Mozos (2018) determined that this species will tolerate a temperature of 40 C even without prior acclimatization to warm temperatures (as S. leptophyes).

Breeding

Crosses with S. tuberosum

Female Male Berry Set
Seed Set Germ Ploidy Source
S. brevicaule S. tuberosum 2x Moderate Moderate     Ochoa 1990
S. brevicaule S. tuberosum 4x None None     Jackson (1999)
S. tuberosum S. brevicaule Low Minimal     Jackson (1999)

Crosses with other species

Jackson (1999) found 4-12% 2n pollen in varieties of this species.

Female Male Berry Set
Seed Set Germ Ploidy Source
S. acaule S. brevicaule High High     Ochoa 1990
S. berthaultii (as S. tarijense) S. brevicaule (as S. leptophyes) Low Low     Ochoa 1990
S. boliviense (as S. megistacrolobum) S. brevicaule (as S. leptophyes) Yes No     Ochoa 1990
S. brevicaule (as S. alandiae) S. acaule Moderate Moderate     Ochoa 1990
S. brevicaule (as S. alandiae) S. berthaultii High High     Ochoa 1990
S. brevicaule (as S. alandiae) S. boliviense High High     Ochoa 1990
S. brevicaule S. candolleanum High High     Ochoa 1990
S. brevicaule (as S. alandiae) S. chacoense Yes Yes     Ochoa 1990
S. brevicaule (as S. alandiae) S. huancabambense High High     Ochoa 1990
S. brevicaule S. infundibuliforme Low Low     Ochoa 1990
S. brevicaule (as S. alandiae) S. microdontum Low Low     Ochoa 1990
S. brevicaule (as S. leptophyes) S. neovavilovii Moderate Moderate     Ochoa 1990
S. brevicaule S. raphanifolium High High     Ochoa 1990
S. brevicaule (as S. alandiae) S. raquialatum High High     Ochoa 1990
S. infundibuliforme S. brevicaule (as S. alandiae) Low Low     Ochoa 1990
S. microdontum S. brevicaule (as S. alandiae) Low Low     Ochoa 1990

References

Solanum brevicaule at Solanaceae Source

Solanum brevicaule at GRIN Taxonomy

Solanum brevicaule at CIP