This page is a draft, part of our ongoing wild potato project. I’ll probably be adding information to the species pages through 2020 at least, but I’m making them public since they may be useful even incomplete.

Solanum brevicaule

Common Name(s): apharuma, jamppatu papa, piscco papa, alcco papa, atoc papa, c’kita papa, llutu arac, charca, ckascke

Synonyms: S. alandiae, S. anomalocalyx,  S. avilesii, S. boliviense subsp. virgultorum, S. brevimucronatum, S. candelarianum, S. famatinae, S. gourlayi, S. hondelmannii, S. hoopesii, S. incamayoense, S. lapazense, S. leptophyes, S. liriunianum, S. oplocense, S. pachytrichum, S. Setulosistylum, S. sparsipilum, S. Spegazzinii, S. subandigenum, S. sucrense, S. tuberosum subsp. sparsipilum, S. ugentii, S. vidaurrei, S. virgultorum

Series: Tuberosum

EBN: 2

Ploidy: Diploid

Segregation: Unknown

Self-compatible: No

Cytoplasm Type: Unknown


Solanum brevicaule is a geographically and morphologically diverse species.  Boundaries between it and its nearest relatives are uncertain.  Twenty species, including diploids, tetraploids, and hexaploids, are often lumped together in a “Solanum brevicaule Complex.”  Van den Berg (1998) and Alvarez (2008) performed comprehensive morphological studies of the species in the S. brevicaule Complex and found little basis for division into more than three species, but inconclusive evidence even for that.  The future probably holds additional taxonomic consolidation of S. brevicaule and its closest relatives.

This species can survive frosts down to 26 degrees F (-3.5 C) (Li 1977, as S. fendleri).  It has a dormancy period lasting several months.

S. brevicaule is probably not safe to eat, other than in very small amounts and perhaps not even then.  The lines that we have grown here and tasted have dry flesh and thick, chewy skin with a strong flavor characteristic of baking potatoes, but an intensely bitter aftertaste.

Condition Level of Resistance Source
Frost Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015
Potato Leaf Roll Virus Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. gourlayi)
Colorado Potato Beetle Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. gourlayi)
Potato Cyst Nematode Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. gourlayi)
Root Knot Nematode Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. gourlayi)
Wart Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. leptophyes)
Soft Rot / Blackleg Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. leptophyes)
Potato Virus X Somewhat resistant Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. leptophyes)
Aphids Resistant Machida-Hirano 2015 (as S. palustre)

Glykoalkaloid content

Johns (1990) found glykoalkaloid levels of 23mg/100g to 164mg/100g for eight accessions of S. brevicaule (some as S. sparsipilum).  This is is a large range, with some flirting with edibility but many clearly in the danger zone.  The primary glycoalkaloids were solanine and chaconine.


S. brevicaule tubers, mixed lines
Large S. brevicaule tubers
S. brevicaule seedling
S. brevicaule mature plant
S. brevicaule mature plants
S. brevicaule pollen
S. brevicaule flower
S. brevicaule inflorescence
S. brevicaule berries and average sized tubers


Due to the length of the stolons, most growers will want to contain the plants in some way.  We grow wild potatoes with long stolons in buried fabric pots, which prevents them from getting out of control.  A 5 gallon fabric pot works well for most wild potatoes.

The USDA potato genebank has observed that some accessions of this species are dependent upon GA3 for germination (Bamberg 1999).

Bamberg (2017) found a 86% increase in seed set in this species with supplemental applications of liquid fertilizer at four and seven weeks after potting.


Crosses with S. tuberosum

Female Male Berry Set Seed Set Germination Ploidy Source
 S. tuberosum S. brevicaule Low Minimal     Jackson (1999)
 S. brevicaule S. tuberosum None None     Jackson (1999)

Crosses with other species

Jackson (1999) found 4-12% 2n pollen in varieties of this species.

Female Male Berry Set Seed Set Germination Ploidy Source

Leave a Reply