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Botanical Name: Solanum fendleri
Subfamilia : Solanoideae
Genus : Solanum
Tribes : Solaneae
Kingdom : Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Species: Solanum fendleri A. Gray ex Torr. – Fendler’s horsenettle
Synonym: Solanum stoloniferum
Common Names: Wild Potato, Fendler’s horsenettle, Texan horsenettle
Solanum fendleri is a perennial herb, growing to 20 inches (50 cm) tall. The flowers are flat, round, 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, and have 5 pointed lobes and a yellow beak of stamens. It blooms in summer & early fall. The flowers are followed by small, green to white fruits. The leaves are green to tinged purple below, hairy, alternate, and pinnately compound with usually 5 or 7 elliptic to egg-shaped leaflets. The terminal (end) leaflet is larger than the other leaflets. The plants have both stolons and small, rounded, white or purple tubers (potatoes)
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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will succeed in Britain. This plant is a N. American species of potatoes and it can probably be grown in much the same way as potatoes are grown. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in most soils. Dislikes wet or heavy clay soils. Prefers a slightly acid soil, the tubers are subject to scab on limy soils or those deficient in humus. Yields best on a fertile soil rich in organic matter.
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.
Edible Parts: Root.
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.
The raw tubers have been used in the treatment of gastric distress due to hyperacidity.
Known Hazards: 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.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.