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Systematics of the Potato

Nature volume 154, page 585 (04 November 1944) | Download Citation



A THOROUGH understanding of potato taxonomy is a necessary pre-requisite of a large-scale programme of breeding for new types. With this in view the British Empire Potato Collecting Expedition sent out by the Imperial Agricultural Bureaux during 1938–39 made extensive collections in Mexico and South America. The systematic results are now described by Dr. J. G. Hawkes (Imperial Bureau of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Cambridge, pp. 142, June 1944, 7s. 6d.), who has classified all the material obtained on a basis of morphological, geographical and cytological criteria. Five new cultivated and thirty-one new wild species are described in addition to very many new varieties and forms; but although somex twenty cultivated and one hundred and fifty wild species of potato are now known, it is concluded that, at least so far as the wild species are concerned, the wealth of variation still lies practically untouched, and probably three or four times as many wild species await discovery in the less accessible regions.

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