Newswise — September 23, 2019 – It may surprise you to learn that wild potatoes grow like weeds in South America. While farmers in the United States battle weeds like pigweed and lamb’s quarters, farmers in the Andes Mountains have to keep weedy potatoes in check. These wild relatives of our potato varieties grow in agricultural fields and roadsides, as well as in forests and grasslands. They are found in amazingly diverse habitats, from ocean beaches to windswept alpine meadows. Some even grow in the knotholes of oak trees.

But, these wild relatives are very important for crop breeders and genetic diversity worldwide. The September 22nd Sustainable, Secure Food blog explores information about the importance of wild potatoes. The blog is part of Crop Science Society of America’s Crop Wild Relative Week celebration.

According to blogger Shelley Jansky, a potato crop breeder with the USDA, “there are over 100 wild potato species and breeders have just scratched the surface for new variety development.  As climate change and a growing population put additional strains on potato growers, we will continue to explore the possibilities offered by this rich genetic resource.”

Wild potatoes provide genetic resources for disease resistance, adaptability to weather conditions, and even flavor.

Read the full blog here:

For more information about CSSA’s Crop Wild Relative Week, visit:

This blog is sponsored and written by members of the American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America. Our members are researchers and trained, certified professionals in the areas of growing our world’s food supply, while protecting our environment. They work at universities, government research facilities, and private businesses across the United States and the world.