|Wild potato information and growing instructions|
|Solanum jamesii information and growing instructions|
|We classify true potato seeds as breeding seed; germination is not guaranteed|
|This product may produce plants with toxic levels of potato glycoalkaloids|
Solanum jamesii, the Four Corners Potato, is the only wild potato species with a distribution primarily in the United States. It is found in the high desert of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah, also reaching slightly into Texas and Mexico. It was (and is) used by native Americans and may have been an important food source at Mesa Verde. Tubers are very small – reaching about an inch at the most, but occasionally up to two inches for some accessions grown under cultivation. Plants are smaller than domesticated potato plants, mostly less than a foot tall. I recommend growing this plant in containers, since the small tubers and long stolons can make it difficult to harvest.
Edibility of this species is uncertain and so you should proceed carefully if you intend to eat it. At minimum, take it slow and don’t feed it to young children. People often come here following on media coverage of this plant. Remember that the news simplifies and sensationalizes everything and you shouldn’t make it your only source of information. Reports that this species was traditionally eaten with clay suggest that at least some types have high glycoalkaloid content, which could cause gastrointestinal upset or more severe symptoms if you really overdo it. You can read more about this at our Solanum jamesii page. I don’t think that there is a lot of danger, but I want to make sure that you take the time to read and understand what you are dealing with.
These seeds and tubers were produced from about a dozen different accessions that were collected all over the range of this species and should be a reasonably good source of diverse genetics for starting a breeding project. Tuber packets contain clones from at least three different accessions and should be suitable for producing your own seed if S. jamesii flowers well in your climate. Note that tubers have such strong dormancy that you might have a hard time getting them to sprout in cool soil. If you chit them in a plastic bag in a warm spot, out of direct sunlight, they will sprout more uniformly. Unlike most of our offerings, tubers are often available year-round, again due to their strong dormancy.