Herb: Colorado Wild Potato

Latin name: Solanum jamesii

Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family, Potato Family)

Edible parts of Colorado Wild Potato:

Tubers - raw or cooked. The tubers are rich in starch but are quite small, averaging only about 3cm in diameter. The tubers range in size from a pea to a walnut. There is a bitterness in the tuber, this is concentrated near the skin. They can be stored for several months or can be sliced thinly, dried and ground into a powder for making bread etc. The Hopi Indians cook them or eat them raw with a saline clay in order to counteract the astringency and also use them in making yeast. The tubers are rather fiddly to harvest, apart from their small size they are also produced at the tips of roots, often at some distance from the parent plant.

Description of the plant:


20 cm
(7 3/4 inch)

Habitat of the herb:

Coniferous forests, 1600 - 2500 metres in Arizona.

Propagation of Colorado Wild Potato:

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 the herb:

Coniferous forests, 1600 - 2500 metres in Arizona.

Medicinal use of Colorado Wild Potato:

None known

Known hazards of Solanum jamesii:

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.