Yukon Gold potato

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Potato 'Yukon Gold'
The golden yellow flesh of the 'Yukon Gold' potato
SpeciesSolanum tuberosum
Hybrid parentage'Norgleam' × W5279-4
Cultivar'Yukon Gold'
OriginOntario, Canada

Yukon Gold is a large cultivar of potato most distinctly characterized by its thin, smooth eye-free skin and yellow-tinged flesh. This potato was developed in the 1960s by G. R. Johnston, R.G. Rowberry, and Dr. Norman Thompson in Guelph, Ontario, Canada at the University of Guelph.[1] The official cross was made in 1966 and 'Yukon Gold' was finally released into the market in 1980.

Development and naming[edit]

Gary Johnston, the principal creator of the 'Yukon Gold' potato

In the 1900s, many Dutch and Belgian immigrants began settling in the "Banana Belt" region of southern Ontario. Many of these immigrants began vegetable farming around the towns of Simcoe, Leamington, and Harrow along the shore of Lake Erie. In the 1950s, the vegetable growers of this region began petitioning for the breeding rights and licensing for a yellow-fleshed potato like ones they were used to growing in Europe. For Gary Johnston, this began the nearly 30-year development of the 'Yukon Gold' potato.

In 1953, Johnston was one of the scientists that owned the potato development laboratory at the Ontario Agriculture College at the University of Guelph. In 1959 one of Johnston’s graduate students, a young man originally from Peru, told him of a small, rough, deep-yellow-fleshed potato (Solanum goniocalyx, known as papa amarilla, Spanish for 'yellow potato')[2] that was grown by the indigenous communities in the Peruvian Andes. In Lima, this cultivar is considered a delicacy for its bright colour and distinct flavour. After trying these Peruvian potatoes, Johnston set out to breed a potato with the same colour and flavour characteristics but larger in size and with a smoother shape, similar to the potatoes being grown in the Banana Belt. In 1966, the development team made their first cross between a W5289-4 (2× cross between 'Yema de huevo' and 2× Katahdin) and a 'Norgleam' potato native to North Dakota. After the 66th cross that year, true-breeding seed was produced, and the G6666 was created.

Johnston initially named the cultivar "Yukon", for the Yukon River and gold rush country in Northern Canada. Charlie Bishop suggested adding "Gold" to better reflect the colour and appearance of the potato.


Unlike some other potato cultivars, 'Yukon Gold' can stand up to both dry-heat and wet-heat cooking methods. Its waxy moist flesh and sweet flavour make it ideal for boiling, baking and frying but these potatoes will also withstand grilling, pan frying, and roasting.

One medium (150g) potato provides the following nutrition (percentages are based on a 2,000-calorie diet):

  • Calories 110
  • Fat 0 g
  • Sodium 10 mg
  • Potassium 770 mg
  • Total Carbs 26 g (9%)
  • Dietary Fibre 2 g (8%)
  • Sugars 3 g
  • Protein 3 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Vitamin A 0%
  • Vitamin C 50%
  • Calcium 2%
  • Iron 15%

Agriculture and growing[edit]

1960's potato farming machinery
1960's potato farming machinery

General features[edit]

  • Bred from Norgleam × W5279-4 cross at the University of Guelph, registered in 1980.
  • Plant maturity reached at mid-season.

Botanical features[edit]

  • Leaves are olive green, moderately skinny and open away from stem.
  • Flowers are light violet with a star of yellow-green at the base becoming light violet towards the edges.
  • Buds range from light green to purplish green.
  • Tubers (potatoes) are oval with a slightly flattened shape and with smooth contours and shallow eyes.
  • Skin appears light yellow to light golden brown and is flaked with yellow.
  • Flesh is yellow in colour and has high moisture content.
  • Sprouts are reddish purple.

Agricultural features[edit]

  • Medium to high yield.
  • Large tubers are slightly susceptible to hollow heart (hollowed out centre of potato)
  • Excellent storage characteristics due to long dormancy phase; best to store in a cold dark place.

Susceptibility to disease[edit]

Very susceptible to, seed decay, blackleg, early blight, late blight, early dying, PVY, soft rot, dry rot, leak, pink rot, silver scurf and black scurf.[3]

Susceptible to, common scab.

Moderately tolerant to, leaf roll.

Tolerant to, PVX.


This cultivar is resistant to bruising and does not sprout a lot because it has good dormancy. If tubers are stored correctly they will not lose a lot of moisture compared to other cultivars. It is important that the lenticels are not swollen and that the skin is not bruised because this can lead to major rot issues.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1980 Honorary Life Member Selections". potatoassociation.org. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  2. ^ Irvis Osbel Medina. "Papa Amarilla" (in Spanish). Mi Cocina Peruana ("My Peruvian Cuisine"). Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b Network, University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Web Developer. "YUKON GOLD: MANAGEMENT PROFILE | CropWatch". cropwatch.unl.edu. Retrieved 2016-12-02.

External links[edit]