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Solanum ehrenbergii

Description

Solanum ehrenbergii distribution Map note

Solanum ehrenbergii (ehrenbergii, in honor of German botanist Carl August Ehrenberg) is a widespread species in central Mexico.  It is commonly known as cimatli, along with the closely related S. cardiophyllum.  Plants take a variety of forms, from low growing rosettes to tall and erect, reaching a maximum height of about two feet.

Sotelo (1998) studied the nutrition of S. ehrenbergii and found that the accessions they studied have a protein content about the same as the domesticated potato and a vitamin C level of 2.36mg / 100g, much lower than the domesticated potato.

Some accessions of S. ehrenbergii appear to be edible and there was at least one farm that was growing S. cardiophyllum, S. ehrenbergii, and S. stoloniferum for market in Jalisco as recently as 2010 (Villa Vazquez 2010).

Resistances

This species can survive frosts down to 27 degrees F (-3 C) (Li 1977, as S. cardiophyllum).

Condition Type Level of Resistance Source
Alternaria solani (Early Blight) Fungus Somewhat resistant Jansky 2008
Globodera pallida (Pale Cyst Nematode) Invertebrate Somewhat resistant Castelli 2003
Globodera rostochiensis (Potato Cyst/Golden Nematode) Invertebrate Somewhat resistant Castelli 2003
Pectobacterium carotovorum (Blackleg/Soft Rot) Bacteria Some resistance Chung 2011
Potato Virus Y (PVY) Virus Somewhat resistant Cai 2011

Glykoalkaloid content

Johns (1990) found that the primary glycoalkaloid of this species is demissine and a very low concentration of only about 2mg/100g.  On the other hand, Sotelo (1998) found a level of 108mg / 100g for solanine and chaconine, a level far into the danger zone.  So, some accessions of S. ehrenbergii may be as safe to consume as domesticated potatoes, while others are dangerous.  Caution is always warranted when trying new varieties of any wild potato species.

Images

Solanum ehrenbergii plant
Solanum ehrenbergii plant
Flower of the wild potato species Solanum ehrenbergii
Solanum ehrenbergii flower
Seedlings of the wild potato species Solanum ehrenbergii
Solanum ehrenbergii seedlings
Tubers of cimatli, a wild potato relative
S. ehrenbergii tubers
Tubers of cimatli, a wild potato relative
S. ehrenbergii tubers
Tubers of the wild potato species Solanum ehrenbergii
Solanum ehrenbergii tubers
   
       

Cultivation

I have found this species difficult to germinate.  It may require conditions different than the standard for S. tuberosum.

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

This species typically has about five months of dormancy.

Breeding

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
             

References

Solanum ehrenbergii at Solanaceae Source

Solanum ehrenbergii at GRIN Taxonomy