This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Whew ! A new potato from South America! Identical, perhaps, with one which turns up among the tubers we brought from Arizona. Prof. E. G. Mumford writes from Portlandville, N. Y., November 26th, 1883 :
" I am happy to be able to make a favorable report concerning your Arizona potatoes. The tubers you sent me last season seem to be all of one sort, except one, which differs very much from either of the species you describe in your California Academy article. The seed-balls you sent seem to be of this - shall I call it a new species ? I kept the tubers separate as you suggested, and still have the product labeled as you named them. Among the four small tubers you sent unnamed, was one that was very round with barely visible eyes, and this is the one that is so different from the described species. This tuber was the first to sprout, and was planted in a pot on March 1st. It grew rapidly, and June 1st was planted out in the ground, where it bloomed and bore plenty of seed-balls. I intended to save specimens of flowers and stems for you, but I was obliged to be away from home in July. On my return, later, the tops were dead. The plants were upright, about one foot high, and curiously enough, they sent out runners from as high as four or five inches up the stems, down into the earth. The runners start from a leaf axil like a branch, except having no leaves. They are like wires with a needle-like point; this bending down penetrates the earth.
The leaves are 'tripinnate ' (ternate, he must mean) both from the product of the tuber and of the seed-balls sent. Flowers small, less than a half-inch long ; pale reddish-purple, seldom more than three in an umbel, only two of which perfect fruit; the latter roundish-oblong, green with brownish-purple tints toward the base, spotted with white. As the fruit ripens it fades to an olive green, becomes soft and endowed with a decidedly agreeable odor, like that of the violet. Tubers on long stems, perfectly round, skin smooth, white, not soon changing color when exposed to light, and they are fully double the size of the one planted".
The tubers and seed-balls sent to Mr. Mumford were found near the top of one of the highest peaks of the Huachuca mountains, Arizona, at an altitude of 9,000 feet, and were on the forested north side. The botanical specimens collected differed widely from any descriptions I could find, but were essentially the same as this so carefully given above, and in my Academy article it was called "the third species unnamed; perhaps a new species " (page 15). I am sorry now that I did not follow out my first inclination and name it Solanum Arizonicum. Still, it was better, perhaps, to wait for more data.
An accident to the boxes of tubers, in transit from Arizona to Oakland, mixed their contents and accounts for the confusion of names referred to by Mr. Mumford. Time will tell whether this species is the same as the one from the La Plata; if not then we have another curious new form. There is likely to be considerable interest manifested the coming season concerning the introduction of these native Arizona potatoes. You, having the Revue Horticole, can determine whether the La Plata species is identical with the above. Please report. Herbarium, 1205 Franklin St., Oakland, Cal.
[As far as we can judge from this description, the S. Ohrondi of the Revue Horticole is another thing. - Ed. G. M].