Letter | Published:

Cross-Breeding Potatoes

Nature volume 31, page 290 | Download Citation



IN the interesting account of the latest successful attempt at raising hybrid potatoes by crossing with different species instead of, as heretofore, by varieties, it is taken for granted the new production will be disease-resisting. Until, however, time has tested the powers of the plant after cultivation, stimulated with all the appliances the potato-growers have at their command, it is rather premature to trust to this. Forty years ago I saw potatoes growing from seed imported direct from South America, and after three years' cultivation they all went with disease in the year 1848. The species I could not tell. The same varieties which go off with disease in this country are never affected in Tasmania, Australia, or New Zealand. At present the newer sorts in cultivation grow so sound and healthy that champions of fine quality over all the east of Scotland are now offering wholesale at three pounds for one halfpenny, and cannot find buyers. The results of the experiments in crossing referred to, while most interesting, will only prove beneficial if a disease-resisting plant is produced having all the table qualities of the old Regent, as well as its great reproductive power, which, with its ability to resist disease, it has now lost.

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  1. 43, Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, January 19



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