Potatoes: skin colour

There are two main classes for skin colour: white and coloured.

These may be whitish to yellow or brown, according to the amount of cork in the periderm (high in GOLDEN WONDER, for example).

These have anthocyanin in the periderm cells, just under the surface, and these are further subdivided into red, purple and blue. The colour may be slight, moderate, or very deep.

The colour may be distributed
1. Over the whole surface of the tuber (e.g. Kerr's Pink)
2. In the eyes only (e.g. Catriona or Kestrel)
3. Between the eyes only (e.g. Leinster Wonder)

The distribution may vary from tuber to tuber, especially in faintly pigmented varieties.

The genetic situation is complicated, but there are three main genes: a basic gene, a red-colour producing gene, and a blue-colour producing gene. There is probably an additional anthocyanin-inhibiting gene.

The situation with regard to the parti-colour (eyes a different colour to the rest) is less clear. It seems that at least three genes are involved in deciding eye colour, most combinations producing white eyes but certain combinations producing blue or red eyes.

compiled by Nigel Deacon, mainly from observations by Crane and Lawrence, 1934. Pictures: copyright N.D.

WHITE (Anya)

RED (Red Duke of York)

BLUE (Salad Blue)

PURPLE (Nige's Purple)

BROWN (Golden Wonder)


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