Species concepts and relationships in wild and cultivated potatoes

D.M. Spooner, G.J. Bryan, R.G. van den Berg, W.A. Brandenburg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Wild and cultivated potatoes (Solanum section Petota) present challenges to taxonomists arising from lack of clearly defined morphological character differences among many species, phenotypic plasticity, a range of ploidy levels from diploid to hexaploid, and hybrid speciation and introgression. Taxonomic treatments of the group have differed greatly regarding numbers of species and hypotheses of their interrelationships at the series level. Recent morphological phenetic studies and molecular studies have confirmed the general lack of clearly defined species, have shown the need to use a number of character states with overlapping ranges for species delimitation (polythetic support), and have suggested the need for the reduction of species in section Petota. Molecular studies have sometimes confirmed hypotheses of hybridization and sometimes have failed to support them. Molecular studies have suggested the need for a reconsideration of the traditionally held series concepts. Currently, section Petota contains 196 wild species and a single cultivated species, Solanum tuberosum, with eight landrace cultivar groups, exclusive of the modern cultivars that are not yet classified into cultivar groups. The number of wild species likely will decrease with future study. These points are here illustrated by (1) a discussion of published species level studies in Solanum series Longipedicellata, the Solanum brevicaule complex, and the cultivated landrace populations of potatoes; (2) reinvestigations of hybridization in S. chacoense, S. raphanifolium and S. xrechei; and (3) studies of ingroup and outgroup relationships of section Petota.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPotatoes, Healthy Food for Humanity: International Developments in Breeding, Production, Protection and Utilization.
Publication statusPublished - 2002
EventXXVIth Internation Horticultural Congress & Exhibition, -
Duration: 11 Aug 200217 Aug 2002

Publication series

NameActa Horticulturae
ISSN (Print)0567-7572


ConferenceXXVIth Internation Horticultural Congress & Exhibition,


  • Solanum section Petota
  • Taxonomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Species concepts and relationships in wild and cultivated potatoes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this