Herb: Wild Potato
Latin name: Solanum fendleri
Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family, Potato Family)
Medicinal use of Wild Potato:The raw tubers have been used in the treatment of gastric distress due to hyperacidity.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Rich soils in open pine woods, 1800 - 2700 metres in Arizona.
Edible parts of Wild Potato:Tubers - raw or cooked. Rich in starch, the tubers can be dried and ground into a powder then used in making bread. A type of potato, it is said to be pleasant eating, tasting somewhat like a sweet chestnut. When eaten raw the potatoes are mixed with clay. One report says that, after every mouthful of raw potato, a person would take a bite f white clay to counteract the unpleasant astringent effect of the potato in the mouth. The roots are fairly small, averaging about 15mm in diameter.
Propagation of the herb:Seed - sow early spring in a warm greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into a fairly rich compost as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on fast. Plant them out after the last expected frosts. Division. Harvest the tubers in autumn after the top-growth has been cut back by frost. Store the tubers in a cool frost-free place overwinter and replant in April.
Cultivation of Wild Potato:Rich soils in open pine woods, 1800 - 2700 metres in Arizona.
Known hazards of Solanum fendleri:Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where many if not all the members have poisonous leaves and sometimes also the unripe fruits.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.