View Full Version : berries? on my potato plants
06-13-2009, 07:36 PM
Hi. I've been growing my first potato plants this season. A few of them have developed, and now lost, little white flowers (which are beautiful, by the way).
Anyways, this morning, I noticed little balls growing where the flowers were that kind of look like green berries or small tomatoes. What are those? I've read that I need to wait until the vines die back before harvesting my 'taters, but I'm really curious as to what the little green balls are. Thanks in advance for any help.
06-13-2009, 07:43 PM
I actually found the answer to my question on another site....sorry. Just in case anyone else is curious, I'll cut and paste it below. Thanks again.
FROM: Iowa State University Horticulture & Home Pest News
Occasionally gardeners are surprised to find small, round, green, tomato-like fruit on their potato plants. These fruit are not the result of cross-pollination with tomatoes. They are the true fruit of the potato plant. The edible tubers are actually enlarged, underground stems. Normally, most potato flowers dry up and fall off the plants without setting fruit. A few flowers do produce fruit. The variety 'Yukon Gold' produces fruit more heavily than most varieties.
The potato fruit are of no value to the gardener. Potato fruit, as well as the plant itself, contain relatively large amounts of solanine. Solanine is a poisonous alkaloid. The small fruit should not be eaten. Since potatoes don't come true from seed, no effort should be made to save the seed.
This article originally appeared in the 7/2/2004 issue.
by Richard Jauron, Department of Horticulture
06-14-2009, 12:24 PM
Although that article says that the potato berries are toxic, and they won't be true to seed, that does not mean the seeds are worthless.
If anyone has read the story of Luther Burbank, that was what got him started in his life's work of plant breeding. As a boy, working in his family's garden, he discovered that rarity, a potato plant producing a flower and fruit containing viable seed. He planted that seed, and from one came the burbank potato.
Maybe you will become the next Luther Burbank.
Try them, you may like them
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