Return to Wild Potato Index Purchase seeds or tubers of Solanum morelliforme

Solanum morelliforme

Common Name(s)   A black and white photo of a tray of Solanum brevicaule tubers. They are about 1 to 2 inches long, oval, and similar in form to baking potatoes.
Code mrl
Clade 1
Series Morelliformia
Ploidy Diploid (2x)
EBN Unknown (probably 1EBN)
Self-compatible No
Cytoplasm Type W (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.

Condition Level of Resistance Source
 Late Blight Somewhat Resistant Machida-Hirano 2015
 Colorado Potato Beetle Somewhat Resistant Machida-Hirano 2015
 Frost Somewhat Resistant Machida-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

Female Male Berry Set Seed Set Germination Ploidy Source

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.

Female Male Berry Set Seed Set Germination Ploidy Source


Solanum morelliforme at Solanaceae Source

Solanum morelliforme at GRIN Taxonomy


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