Potatoes of Chiloé

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A selection of Chiloé's roughly 400 native varieties of potatoes

The Chiloé Archipelago is home to a wide variety of potatoes. After the Titicaca region of Peru and Bolivia, it is the geographical nucleus where the most different types of potatoes are found. Evidence ranging from historical records, local agriculturalists, and DNA analyses strongly supports the hypothesis that the most widely cultivated variety of potato worldwide, Solanum tuberosum tuberosum, is indigenous to the Chiloé Archipelago, and has been cultivated by the local indigenous people since before the Spanish conquest.[1][2] Local varieties include Camota, Cielo, Pachacoña, Cabrita, Chelina, Guadacho Colorada, Zapatona, Michuñe Azul, Huicaña and Ñocha.

Guaitecas Archipelago[edit]

Some of the potatoes of Chiloé do also grow in the wild in Guaitecas Archipelago, albeit there incertainty of when and how did potatoes arrive there.[3] The Guaitecas Archipelago made up the southern limit of Pre-Hispanic agriculture[4] as noted by the mention of the cultivation of potatoes by a Spanish expedition in 1557.[3] Later during the second voyage of HMS Beagle Charles Darwin collected potatoes from Guaitecas.[3]

Potatoes grow next to the sea in a herbaceous zone. The wild potatoes that grow in the archipelagodo are mostly found in its western part. Apparently these potatoes does not reproduce by seeds and rarely produce flowers and fruits.[3] Potatoes grow in zones of disturbance, mainly in the herbaceous zone near the coast that is affected by winter storms.[3]


  1. ^ Molecular description and similarity relationships among native germplasm potatoes (Solanum tuberosum ssp. tuberosum L.) using morphological data and AFLP markers, Jaime Solano Solis et al., Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, July 2007
  2. ^ Using DNA, scientists hunt for the roots of the modern potato, January 2008
  3. ^ a b c d e Contreras, Andrés; Ciampi, Luigi; Padulosi, Stefano; Spooner, David M. (1993). "Potato germplasm collecting expedition to the Guaitecas and Chonos Archipelagos, Chile, 1990". Potato Research. 36: 309–316.
  4. ^ Bird, Junius (1946). "The Alacaluf". In Steward, Julian H. (ed.). Handbook of South American Indians. Bulletin 143. I. –Bureau of American Ethnology. pp. 55–79.