Return to Wild Potato IndexPurchase seeds or tubers of Solanum chacoense

Solanum chacoense

Common Name(s)Ahuara papa, Papa ra, Para papa, Papa de zorro
Solanum chacoense plant
Solanum chacoense plant
SynonymsS. arnezii, S. bitteri, S. boergeri, S. calvescens, S. emmeae, S. garciae, S. gibberulosum, S. guaraniticum, S. horovitzii, S. jujuyense, S. knappei, S. laplaticum, S. muelleri, S. parodi, S. saltense, S. schickii, S. subtilius, S. yungasense
PloidyDiploid (2x), less commonly triploid (3x)
Tuberization PhotoperiodVaries
Self-compatibleNo (some exceptions)
Cytoplasm TypeW (Hosaka 2009)
Bitter: Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 11: 18. 1912.


Solanum chacoense distribution map
Solanum chacoense distribution map

Solanum chacoense (chacoense means “from Chaco,” and probably refers to Chaco, Argentina but there are a number of places named Chaco in the range of this plant) is a very diverse and widely spread species, ranging from Peru south and east into Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil, where it grows from sea level up to about 6500 feet (2000 m).  Plants are typically between 1 and 2 feet tall, with narrow strongly pointed leaves.  It grows in a wide variety of habitats and is common weed of cultivated ground as well.  Tubers are typically small, mostly less than an inch, occasionally reaching as much as three inches.  They are usually white to tan in color, less commonly blue, usually with prominent lenticels.

Although most South American wild potato species are short day tuberizers, some accessions of S. chacoense are able to tuberize under long days.


Some accessions of S. chacoense deter the feeding of Colorado potato beetle and many other insects due to leptines (acylated glycoalkaloids) in the foliage.  Leptines are not common in S. chacoense and so far have not been found at all in other potato species (Sinden 1986).  Leptines were not found to accumulate in the tubers even when allowed to green (Sinden 1986b).  Sinden (1980) found the least damage from Colorado potato beetle in varieties that had forms of commersonine as their primary glucoalkaloids.

This species can survive frosts down to 26 degrees F (-3.5 C) (Li 1977).  Vega (1995) found that this species is about as frost tolerant as domesticated potato.

ConditionTypeLevel of ResistanceSource
AphidsInvertebrateSomewhat resistantAdams 1946
Bacterial ring rotBacteriumSomewhat resistantRoss 1958
Bacterial WiltBacteriumSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
Colorado Potato BeetleInvertebrateSomewhat resistantStelzner 1943, Schaper 1953, Torka 1943, Machida-Hirano 2015
DroughtAbioticSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
FrostAbioticSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
HeatAbioticSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
Late BlightFungusSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
Potato cyst nematodeInvertebrateSomewhat resistantOchoa 1990
Potato leaf minerInvertebrateSomewhat resistantOchoa 1990
Potato leafhopperInvertebrateSomewhat resistantSleesman 1940
Potato Leafroll VirusVirusSomewhat resistantRoss 1950, Ross 1958, Ochoa 1990
Potato tuber mothInvertebrateSomewhat resistantOchoa 1990
Potato Virus XVirusSomewhat resistantLebedeva 1978, Machida-Hirano 2015
Potato Virus YVirusSomewhat resistant, ResistantRoss 1950, Ross 1958, Ochoa 1990Chung 2011, Machida-Hirano 2015
Potato Virus Y, C StrainVirusResistantTakacs 1999 (as S. arnezii)
Root Knot NematodeInvertebrateSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
ScabBacteriumSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
ScabBacteriumImmuneReddick 1939
Soft Rot / BlacklegBacteriumSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
Verticillium wiltFungusSomewhat resistantLynch 1997
WartFungusSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015, Ross 1958

Glykoalkaloid content

The glycoalkaloid composition of S. chacoense varies considerably between accessions.  Sinden (1980), found six different glycoalkaloid profiles for this species: commersonine; solanine; dyhydrocommersonine; leptines and commersonine; solanine and chaconine; dihydrosolanine and dihydrochaconine; and leptines with dihydrosolanine and dihydrochaconine.   Sinden (1986b) found TGA levels ranging from 134 to 279 mg / 100 g across three clones of S. chacoense.


Solanum chacoense plant
Solanum chacoense plant
Solanum chacoense flower
Solanum chacoense flower
Solanum chacoense flowers
Solanum chacoense flowers
Flower of the wild potato species Solanum chacoense
Solanum chacoense flower
Berries of the wild potato species Solanum chacoense
Solanum chacoense berries


Bamberg (2017) found a 306% increase in seed set in this species with supplemental applications of liquid fertilizer at four and seven weeks after potting.

I recommend isolating S. chacoense from domesticated diploids by at least 40 feet if you will be saving seed.  This species appears to be a very effective pollinator and progeny of crosses with diploid S. tuberosum are mostly bitter.

S. chacoense has shown a significant ability to naturalize and become weedy in foreign environments (Simon 2010).  Care should be taken to prevent this species from escaping and growing unmanageably, a precaution that should be taken with all wild potato species until you have experience with them.  There is a lot of rainfall in most of its native range, but it appears to tolerate drought very well.


Lynch (1997) identified a dominant, single gene source of Verticillium resistance in some accessions of S. chacoense.  This could likely be crossed into S. tuberosum without too much difficulty.

Ochoa (1990) reported that the pollen fertility of triploid S. chacoense (as S. yungasense) was 45-50%, a surprisingly high value for a triploid.

Crosses with S. tuberosum

FemaleMaleBerry Set
Seed SetGermPloidySource
S. chacoenseS. tuberosum 2xYesYes  Ochoa (1990)
S. chacoenseS. tuberosum 4xNoneNone  Jackson (1999)
S. tuberosum 2xS. chacoenseYesYes  Ochoa (1990)
S. tuberosum 4xS. chacoenseLowLow  Jackson (1999)

Crosses with other species

Jackson (1999) found 2-11% 2n pollen for this species.

FemaleMaleBerry Set
Seed SetGermPloidySource
S. chacoenseS. berthaultiiHighHigh  Ochoa (1990)
S. chacoenseS. brevicaule (as S. vidaurrei)YesYes  Ochoa (1990)


Solanum chacoense at Solanaceae Source

Solanum chacoense at GRIN Taxonomy

Solanum chacoense at CIP

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