Illustrated catalog of potato varieties launched in Peru

by Luigi Guarino on September 6, 2012

The International Potato Center has been running an Andean Potato of the Day feature on Facebook. And yes, they are potatoes, stop sniggering at the back there. Anyway, they’re really professional photos of often very weird and attractive traditional potato varieties, many of them with extremely weird names, and it made me curious as to what extent all this diversity is in CIP’s genebank. It turns out the photos were taken in 1999-2000 during a field trip into the Andes organized to provide high quality illustrations for the book “La Papa: Tesoro de los Andes.” CIP’s genebank curators were asked to help with the spelling and translation of the local names, but the photographs are of material freshly harvested from farmers’ fields, not the genebank. Most (not all, alas) of the varieties illustrated are in fact in the genebank, as you can check by searching for the local name (as I did for the “Quwi sullu” potato shown here), though it is occasionally tricky to be certain, due to variation in the spelling of the local name. This is another version of the problem we encountered in an earlier post dealing with rice, where it was not possible to be sure of the identity of material used in a particular piece of research because only the local name was quoted, rather than the accession number. Anyway, I bring all this up now because CIP has just announced the publication of an illustrated catalog of new potato varieties for Peru, with the now obligatory shout-out on Facebook. I haven’t seen the catalog yet, but I do hope it includes accession numbers.

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