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Solanum demissum

Common Name(s)Papa cimarrona, papa del monte (Facciola 1998)
Tubers of the wild potato species Solanum demissum
Solanum demissum tubers
SynonymsS. alpicum, S. semidemissum, S. utile
PloidyHexaploid (6x)
Tuberization Photoperiod
Self-compatibleYes (Pushkarnath 1942)
Cytoplasm TypeD (Hosaka 2014)
Lindley: J. Hort. Soc. London 3: 70, fig. pg. 69. 1848.


Solanum demissum distribution map
Solanum demissum distribution map

Solanum demissum (demissum meaning “low lying”) is a widespread species in Mexico, particularly densely in central Mexico, and reaching south into Guatemala.  Plants reach about 18 inches tall, although many take on a much more compact or rosette form.  Flowers violet to purple.  Stolons long, two feet or more.  Tubers are white to tan, round to compressed.  Tuber size often reaches two to three inches.

This species is more closely related to S. acaule and S. albicans than to other Mexican species, which is quite interesting given the very long distance between the natural ranges of those species.

Both tubers and cooked fruits are reportedly consumed in Mexico.  Glycoalkaloids can be rather high in this species so I recommend that you refrain from eating large amounts.  Because there are almost no published measurements of glycoalkaloids in potato berries, I would also be very careful with those.  The people who traditionally eat this species may know more than we do about how and when it can be done safely.

This species was long thought to be an allopolyploid, bearing both the A and B genomes.  More recent work has shown that it is an autopolyploid, with only the A genome (Rodriguez 2009).  The chromosomes of this species form three sets of bivalents (He 2018).


This species can survive frosts down to 25 degrees F (-4 C) (Li 1977).  Vega (1995) found that this species is much more frost tolerant than domesticated potato.

ConditionTypeLevel of ResistanceSource
Colorado Potato BeetleInvertebrateSomewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015
DroughtAbioticSomewhat resistantMachida-Hirano 2015
FrostAbioticSomewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015
Late BlightFungusResistant Machida-Hirano 2015
Potato Leaf Roll VirusVirusSomewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015
Potato Virus XVirusSomewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015
Potato Virus YVirusResistant Machida-Hirano 2015
Root Knot NematodeInvertebrateSomewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015
Soft Rot / BlacklegBacteriumSomewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015
WartFungusSomewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015

Glykoalkaloid content

Sarquis (2000) measured the total glycoalkaloid content of tubers of an accession of this species at 70.4 mg / 100g, a level 3.5 times the safety limit.  The tubers that I have tasted were not terribly bitter and I can imagine making edible selections of this species without too much trouble.


Solanum demissum plant
Solanum demissum plant
Solanum demissum plant
Solanum demissum plant
Solanum demissum flower buds
Solanum demissum flower buds
Solanum demissum flower
Solanum demissum flower
Tubers of the wild potato species Solanum demissum
Solanum demissum tubers


I have found S. demissum difficult to germinate, with often low germination percentage and a prolonged germination period.


Watanabe (1991) found that 2.3% of varieties of this species produced 2n pollen and Jackson (1999) found 3-9%, which would be effectively dodecaploid and 8EBN.

Crosses with S. tuberosum

FemaleMaleBerry Set
Seed SetGermPloidySource
S. demissumS. tuberosumModerateHigh  Jackson (1999)
S. tuberosumS. demissumLowModerate  Jackson (1999)

Crosses with other species

FemaleMaleBerry Set
Seed SetGermPloidySource
S. demissumS. chacoenseYesYes  Reddick 1939


Solanum demissum at Solanaceae Source

Solanum demissum at GRIN Taxonomy

Solanum demissum at CIP

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