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Solanum morelliforme

Common Name(s)  
PloidyDiploid (2x)
EBNUnknown (probably 1EBN)
Cytoplasm TypeW (Hosaka 2014)
Bitter & Muench: Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 12: 154. 1913.


Solanum morelliforme distribution in North America Map note

Solanum morelliforme (morelliforme, meaning similar in form to S. nigrum, which was once known as black morel) is a contender for the most unusual wild potato, as it is an epiphyte, typically growing on or near oak and pine trees.  This is a widespread species in central Mexico and extends south in to through Honduras.  Plants grow from about 3 to 18 inches tall.  The berries are very small – about 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch in diameter and contain only 5 to 15 seeds, much less than most potato species.

A disjuct (geographically separated) population of S. morelliforme was discovered in Bolivia in 2010 (Simon 2011).  This is very surprising considering that there is a 2500 mile gap between the North and South American populations.  No other wild potato species has a natural distribution on both continents.

This species can survive frosts down to 26 degrees F (-3.5 C) (Li 1977).  Vega (1995) found that this species is less frost tolerant than domesticated potato and was among the least tolerant of the wild potato species.

ConditionLevel of ResistanceSource
 Late BlightSomewhat ResistantMachida-Hirano 2015
 Colorado Potato BeetleSomewhat ResistantMachida-Hirano 2015
 FrostSomewhat ResistantMachida-Hirano 2015

Glykoalkaloid content




Bamberg (2018) found that germination of at least some accessions of this species is inhibited by alternating temperatures.  I reproduced that quite successfully, as we got zero germination from seeds sown under our standard 65 F day / 50 F night temperature alternation.  I have yet to retry under constant temperature.


Crosses with S. tuberosum

FemaleMaleBerry SetSeed SetGerminationPloidySource

Crosses with other species

Watanabe (1991) found that 8.1% of varieties of this species produced 2n pollen, which would be effectively tetraploid and probably 2EBN.

FemaleMaleBerry SetSeed SetGerminationPloidySource


Solanum morelliforme at Solanaceae Source

Solanum morelliforme at GRIN Taxonomy


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