Potato: Morphological Observations of USDA Accessions 2017

We’ve been growing large numbers of USDA potato accessions for several years now, sifting lines for valuable parent material.  As part of this project, I am tracking the traits that are important to our breeding program.  This process takes several years.  We first grow minitubers in pots, then grow full size plants in the field.  I require a minimum of 20 plants before reporting observations and sometimes we don’t have that many survivors, so must wait another growing cycle or two.  Anyway, in this plodding fashion, I am now assembling the first results.

The USDA database is a wonder, particularly if you are working with modern S. tuberosum and are interested in pest and disease resistance.  Many other features of the accessions can be found by searching on PI numbers in the potato literature.  One thing that you will rarely find though, particularly with accessions of S. tuberosum ssp. andigenum, is any mention of tuber shape, skin and flesh color, eye depth, dormancy, photoperiod, and similar characteristics that may be important to specialty breeders.  Many of these accessions are available only as true seed and these are essentially mystery packets of seed.  Even if the original collection had a descriptive name, it is as likely to be misleading as it is to be helpful.  This is a big hurdle for small breeders, since the only way to find trait combinations of interest is exactly what we’re doing here – slogging through them.  

We have been keeping about one selection for every three TPS accessions that we grow and evaluate.  That’s not very efficient.  For example, I would take a pass on any accession that produces mostly white or blue skin, white flesh, round shapes, and low dormancy because I don’t have any project that calls for those traits, particularly in combination. We currently have just over 300 accessions in progress and, by 2020, we should have observations for about half of the andigena accessions that are available as seed.  I don’t know if we will keep at it beyond that point or not, as I’ll probably call it quits when I feel that we have enough parent selections to continue with.  Exploring the accessions is fun though, so if I have the time and space, I might keep grinding through them, particularly if people find this information useful.  Or maybe somebody else will be inspired to take up where I leave off or to report observations that have already been collected.  That would be great.  Somebody out there must have done this work before, probably multiple somebodies.  Many of these accessions have been held by the USDA for 60 to 70 years.

We will eventually offer seeds and possibly tubers from our parent selections, but you’ll have to be patient as it takes several years to determine whether or not they are really worth keeping.  In the meantime, we incorporate seed from the most promising candidates into our TPS mixes.

This is just a summary.  There is more information available in our wiki, including pictures of some accessions.  The number of pictures will increase as we continue to harvest selections from these lines over the next few years.

Thanks to the USDA Potato Introduction Station for maintaining and providing these accessions.

Accession # Name (if available) Best Guess Translation Observations
PI 195186 Runtus Papa Egg Potato A mix of round and elongate. Some very long and snake-like. Mostly whites, a few russets, and a few reds. Low to fair dormancy.  Short to mid stolons.  Low yields.  Mid to late season.
PI 195191     Mostly elliptic, a few obovate.  Mostly yellows, some light, a few dark, a few reds.  A few yellow with red eyes.  Yellow flesh.  Short to mid stolons.  Low to fair dormancy.  Mid to late season.
PI 195204     Mostly round to elliptic, a few compressed.  Mostly yellows, a few oranges and light reds.  A few with moderately deep eyes.  A few with pronounced lenticels.  Mid to late season.  Short to mid stolons.  Fair dormancy.
PI 195206     Mostly round. Blues and whites. Some with russetting. Heavy yielding. Early to mid season.  Short to mid stolons.  Fair to good dormancy.
PI 214423     Round to elliptic. Mostly blues, some reds, yellows, a few whites. Many with darker blue eyes.  Early to mid season.  Short to mid stolons.  Fair dormancy.
PI 225668 Careta Amarilla Yellow Mask Round or compressed, small to medium with deep eyes. Mostly reds and yellows, some blue and orange, few whites. Mostly yellow flesh, some white. Generally large, late, probably short day adapted plants, a few mid season. Many with great flavor. Excellent flowering and large berries. Some appear to be self pollinating.  Short to long stolons.  Foliage untouched by early or late blight.  Low dormancy.
PI 225677 Chaucha Curilla Early Little Priest Mostly round, some elliptic.  Mostly yellow, some red, a few red with yellow eyes, a few white.  Some with moderately deep eyes.  Late season, probably short day tuberizers.  Short to mid stolons.  Low dormancy.
PI 225708     Mostly elongate, some round, some obovate. Light yellows, blues, and reds. Most yellows with blue eyes. Short to mid stolons.  Mid to late season.  Low dormancy.
PI 225675 Chaucha Chula Negra Early Black Pretty Mostly compressed, round, a few ovoid to elliptic. Mostly bicolors, red and yellow or blue and yellow. Some red, blue, yellow, and white solids. Some with deep eyes. Mostly light yellow flesh, sometimes with contrasting vascular ring. Large plants. Mostly late season.  Many apparently short day tuberizers. Many with round, more tetraploid-like berries.  Low dormancy.  Mid to long stolons.  Foliage untouched by early or late blight.
PI 225676 Chaucha Colorada Redonda Early Red Round

Despite what the name suggests, these are neither early nor round. Perhaps they are early under short day conditions.  Mostly elongate. Yellows, reds, intergrades of yellow and red, yellows with red eyes, a few oranges. Many with contrasting lenticels. Low dormancy.  Late season.  Short to mid stolons.  Foliage affected by early blight.

PI 225681 Chaucha Negra Early Black Round or compressed. Mostly blue. A few whites. Low dormancy. Mid to long stolons.  Mid to late season.  Tubers on tangly chains and difficult to harvest.
PI 225685 Chaucha Rosquilla Colorada Early Red Caterpillar Mostly elliptic to elongate, a few round. Reds, yellows, and a few oranges. Some very dark red.  Yellows and oranges with red eyes. Some with pronounced lenticels. Short to mid stolons.  Late season, probably short day tuberizing.  Low dormancy.
PI 230512 Huadalina Larga Unknown Mostly round, some oblong, some elliptic.  Mostly light yellow, some blue, a few red.  Most with light yellow flesh.  Some with moderately deep eyes.  Short to mid stolons.  Early to late season.  Low dormancy.
PI 230513     Mostly obovate, some oblong, some round. Mostly yellows, some blues and blue/yellow bicolors. Mid to long stolons.  Mid to late season.  Fair dormancy.
PI 230586     Mostly round to elliptic.  Mostly light yellow, some whites, a few red/brown, a few blue.  Short to mid stolons.  Mid to late season.  Low to fair dormancy.
PI 234007 Candelaro From Candelaria? Most elliptic to elongate. Some pine cone shapes. A few rounds. Mostly whites, some with red proximal end. Some pinks. Some reds and blues with matching vascular ring. Low to fair dormancy.  Short to mid stolons.  Early to late season.  Foliage damaged by early blight.
PI 234008 Checchi Canastilla Unknown Mostly round, some obovate, some long-oblong. Some with deep eyes. Mostly whites, some reds. Good dormancy.  Short to long stolons.  Late season.  Foliage untouched by early blight.
PI 234010 Machu Huanuchi Unknown A wide variety of shapes. Many elongate, long-oblong, elliptic, some round or obovate, pinecone shapes. Mostly white with a few reds, red/white, or blue/white bicolors. Many with deep eyes.  Short to mid stolons.  Mid to late season.  Mostly low dormancy, a few fair.  Foliage untouched by early or late blight.
PI 234012 Saylulo Unknown Diverse shapes. Many elongate, long-oblong, oblong. Some with deep eyes. Some reds, mostly yellows and whites, many intergrading. Short to mid stolons.  Early to mid season.  Fair dormancy.
PI 243460 Criolla Solorada Unknown Mix of round, compressed, oblong, elliptic.  Mostly yellows, some reds, and a few red/yellow bicolors.  Mostly yellow flesh.  Short to mid stolons.  Mostly late season, possibly short day tuberizers.  Low dormancy.
PI 243467 Colorada Red Mostly rounds, a few elliptic. Small tubers. Low yields.  Mostly reds, some yellows and whites. Mostly white flesh, some with vascular ring, a few yellow.  Early to mid season.  Low dormancy.
PI 275110 Soliman Unknown Mostly elliptic, a few obovate.  All yellow.  Some with moderately deep eyes.  Low to fair dormancy.  Short to mid stolons.  Late season, possibly short day tuberizers.  Foliage undamaged by early or late blight.
PI 283119 Amarilla Yellow Mostly obovate, some round. Yellow with pink striations and eyes, some becoming more pink than yellow, a few whites. Low dormancy.  Mid to long stolons.  Mid to late season.  Foliage damaged by early blight.
PI 283125 Criolla Native Most round or compressed, a few obovate.  Mostly light yellow, a few white.  A few with blue eyes.  A few with moderately deep eyes.  Short to mid stolons.  Late season, probably short day tuberizers.  Low dormancy.
PI 283126 Criolla Native Mostly round, a few obovate, a few elliptic.  Mostly light yellows, some whites, a few reds, a few blues.  Some yellows with blue or red eyes.  A few red/yellow bicolors.  Short to mid stolons.  Late season, probably short day tuberizers.  Low dormancy.
PI 283127 Criolla Native Some round, some obovate, some elliptic. Yellows, reds, a few blues. Short to mid stolons.  Late, likely short day tuberizer.  Low dormancy.
PI 310489 Criolla Native Mostly round or compressed. Mostly yellows, a few reds. Some yellows with pink eyes. Some with moderately deep eyes. Short to mid stolons.  Late season.  Low dormancy.  Foliage damaged by early blight.
PI 320349 Mambera Mambo Dancer Mostly round to elliptic, a few elongate.  All yellows.  Some with red eyes, some with moderately deep eyes.  Late season, probably short day tuberizers.  Short to mid stolons.  Low dormancy.
PI 320358 Chaucha Blanca Early White Mostly obovate, some round, some elongate. Yellows, reds, and red/yellow bicolors. Occasional pink to red eyes. Mostly early.  Short to mid stolons.  Foliage untouched by early blight.  Low dormancy.
PI 320369 Gigante Giant Mostly obovate, a few round, compressed, or elliptic. Mostly yellow, some reds, a few blues. Red/yellow and blue/yellow bicolors. Short to mid stolons.  Mid to late season.  Low dormancy.
PI 365344     Mostly obovate, some rounds. Mostly red, many dark. Some more orange colored. Mid to long stolons.  Mid to late season.  Fair dormancy.
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