Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Potato Seed Berries

Jim requested potatoes for supper and when informed that we had used the last of the 'store-bought' supply, he headed for the garden with grandson Devin Gould and Willis the Cat in tow.

Seconds later Devin burst into the kitchen commanding, "Meme, you have to see this--the potato plants have grown little green tomatoes!"

We pondered this, never having seen such an occurance in many years of gardening. I was vaguely aware that both potatoes and tomatoes belong to the nightshade family of plants [solanaceae] and that because of this relationship tomatoes, once called 'love-apples,' were formerly considered unfit for humans to eat.

An internet search gave us the information that potatoes sometimes set these 'seed-balls' or 'seed-berries' when long days [think June] coincide with a spell of cooler weather.

Yukon Gold potatoes, our favorite, are particularly prone to this seeding process. Interestingly, although some of the seed stems were bare I found no green 'berries' rolling about in the potato rows. None of the other potato varieties are making seed balls.

What seemed like a casual garden errand provided a learning moment and some nearly perfect
Yukon Golds for the evening meal.

As well, Willis the Cat found opportunity for garden supervision--he takes all discoveries in stride.

For more on potato seed balls, go here:



  1. I well remember the fruit of the deadly nightshade. My beautiful purple Royal Robe vine is all part of the same family. It's common name is potato vine.

  2. Well you learn something every day interesting. xx

  3. That's very interesting and I'll bet the Yukon Gold potatoes were delicious.

  4. Very interesting, I've never seen anything like that. I knew that tomatoes were a member of the nightshade family, but I didn't realize potatoes were too.

  5. Well well. Fact is stranger than fiction here.

    Willis must think he is the Boss Cat! He is such a pretty boy.

  6. Fascinating - thank you! I love the sound of Yukon Gold but getting them in the UK may be a slight problem.

  7. Yes, I am familiar with those potato berries, - we had them in our potato patch probably ten or twelve years ago, - it must have been a June much like this one. I haven't ever seen them since and I can't remember if the potatoes were Yukon Gold but it is quite possible they were.