Potato fruit

Potato fruit on Chieftain variety

Here’s something I haven’t seen before in my, uh, six years of growing potatoes: green, tomato-like, walnut-sized potato fruit. Bob hadn’t seen ‘em either, in 40 plus years of farming. I hit the web for education.

These are genuine fruit, but not that common. Usually, potato flowers just drop off. When fruit do form, they’re more likely found on certain varieties, like Yukon Gold. This year, there were fruit on just about every Chieftain plant, here and there on the Kennebec, and none that I noticed on the Yukon Gold…

Each fruit contains 300-500 seeds that don’t come true: planting them doesn’t result in the same potatoes as the parent plant, there’s lots of genetic variation. Potato breeders plant out thousands of seeds, check out the results, then keep replanting the most desirable potatoes for many years or so to get new commercial varieties—apparently, this is the way new potatoes are bred.

Meanwhile, it apparently only takes only two seasons and one generation to breed genetically stable new potatoes, so for the small farm or home garden, as opposed to the big potato breeder, this seems like a viable way to go. Harvest seed one season—you can hand-pollinate to cross two varieties—plant out the next and select your favorites. Those tubers should be stable and ready to go, you just have to build up a quantity, which takes another season, unless you need hardly any at all!

And, the fruit are poisonous, rich in solanine, not for eating (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and tobacco are all members of the “deadly nightshade” family, all prone to having toxic parts). Interesting! Since they suddenly appeared this year on two varieties, I’d guess it was about the weather!

Inside the potato fruit

Since this is such a popular post, being dug up over and over via Google, I’ve started to update the article as I discover more. I’m not marking the changes. This is unusual. In general, I don’t edit old blog posts, and clearly mark the updates when I do!

 

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121 Responses to “Potato fruit”

  1. Claire says:

    Wow, this is amazing – I have never heard of Potato Fruit! I love learning new stuff – thanks!

    • dennis bullis says:

      I take it that it is safe to eat the potatoes

    • Craig Stamm says:

      Yes, I noticed them on our Yukon Gold potatoes. I had never seen them or looked for them before. It would seem that if you wanted to do genetic selection, you could plant the seeds from within the fruit. I only grow Yukon Gold because my family insists on us raising this yellow, butter-like potatoes. They love them!

      Craig

      • Yes, this is the first time I’ve ever seen this on our potato plants! I did a doubletake, thinking I was seeing things. They look just like little green cherry tomatoes… Anyway, am glad to have found this blog post. Very informative!

    • Al Bailey says:

      I found several on my red potatoes this year, just a grocery store bought variety that went to sprout.

      • iris says:

        My Blue potatoes are loaded with “fruit” this year. Whole clusters of them. I might try to grow a few out next year.to see what we get later on.

  2. Amy says:

    That is so cool!

  3. jim says:

    So that’s what they are I had them on some of my potatoes last year for the first time and this year again. I never got around to looking them up. We also had some double garlic heads. That is to say a secondary  cluster of small cloves about 4-6inches above the bulb in the stem. I was told by my garlic supplier that this was due to the cold summer.
    Great blog
    Jim

  4. bill says:

    we had them appear on our potatoes a few years ago.  didn’t have a clue what they were all about.   sure glad we didn’t try eatin’ them  lol

  5. mrtumnas says:

    Do you intend to plant them? I’d definitely be interested in trading for them if not.

  6. I had a lot of potato fruit this year too!  I just assumed it was related to a couple of the varieties (chieftan and norland for me).  Interesting that it can be weather related.

    I’ve heard you can graft a tomato onto a potato and get both tubers and fruit to eat.  It would be an interesting experiment, but apparently you less quality potatoes and tomatoes for your effort.

  7. Micah says:

    Up here in Maine, I too grow the Kennebec variety and had the fruit this year as well. They seem to like a lot of rain which we have had. I have already harvested our potatoes for the year.

  8. Jason says:

    We had fruits on our potato plants last year.  I saved some of the seed from the fruit with the plans of trying to grow some from “real” seed.  I did not find the time to try it this year.  Hopefully next year…

  9. Jason says:

    One other thing…  In case anyone is curious…  I did taste them.  I knew that the potato is a nightshade, so I only took a small bite.  Moderation is the key, right?  I found them to be quite similar in texture to a tomato, but they are VERY bitter. From now on, I think I’ll stick with the tomato!

  10. Kathy says:

    Me too. Lots of flowers, many little potato fruits. No way was I going to taste them though.

  11. Heather says:

    I thought my potato plant had an identity crisis and confused itself with a tomato! I will save those little seeds and see what I get. Thanks for the info.

  12. deborah says:

    Thanks guys I was wondering about those fruit things on my tatties very interesting weather has been very wet this year this might be the cause. Ill try planting the seeds though :)

  13. Patti says:

    Not all varieties of potatoes are able to develop fruit and true seeds. But, apparently, they are used to develop new varieties as there is a lot of variation in the “potatoes” that are grown from seed. The seeds are planted, then the potatoes are dug up to see what grew. If what grew was desirable, then the tubers are saved for planting the following year. Plants grown from tubers should have the same characteristics as the parent.

    If you want to save the seeds, chop the mature fruits up and cover them with water. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the other stuff will stay on top. Then dry the seeds and save until you are ready to plant.

    By the way, potato fruits should not be eaten as they contain large amounts of solanine, the toxin that all members of the nightshade family produce. This is the same toxin that is present in potatoes that turn green (and why you also should not eat them.)

  14. margaret says:

    I am just an amateur gardener in Aberdeenshire Scotland, and was late in digging up my potatoes. The stems were very tall, and the yield good. But I found these green tomato like fruits on some stems and pinkish spots (craters) on the tubers. The tubers look normal when sliced open. Can I eat these tubers ?

  15. Debbie says:

    No Margaret these are very toxic indeed you can dry the seeds and try and plant next year its caused by different variety’s of potatoes grown together very closely but dont eat them

  16. deb says:

    In response to Patti: Green tomatoes also contain solanine, which must go when they trun red. I’ve never eaten enough fried or in salsa at once to get a stomach ache, but I know you can.

  17. Andy says:

    Thanks Patti for the tip about extracting the seeds from the fruit. I’ve left two bunches of fruit to ripen on a couple of plants (The rest I removed as soon as I discovered them to avoid diverting the plants’ strength into fruit production.)
    I’ve heard that there is a ‘dormancy period’ of 8–9 months for potato seeds. I think that this means that if I harvest and extract them now, I will have to wait until about May next year before I can plant them. Is that right?
    I’ve also come across a method traditional to South America where the fruits are left outside in a bowl until they rot and turn black. Then the seeds are ready to plant.
    Has anyone got any experience of this? I will experiment. Email me in 2011 if I haven’t posted a follow-on by then!

  18. Dijkhuis says:

    Wonderfull to see you work and publish!

    I would like to have some of the potatofruits, this in order to find out if they would grow under dutch circumstances,climate e.g. would we be able to exhange potatofruits?

    I could sent you some

    regs

    Jan-Pieter

  19. TRICIA says:

    Why is everyone so surprised that the potato plant has fruit or seeds!!! All plants that flower (and most do) will produce a seed (sometimes in a fruit). My potatoes produced lots of fruit this year, and I will try to grow a plant from them. I’ve taken into account some of the suggestions here and will let you know what happens – if anything.

    I must admit, that I did cut one open and trace my finger on the flesh and then tasted it. It tasted good to me, but I did not try to eat the fruit as I had heard that it was poisonous.

  20. Matt says:

    I grew up in a potato farming family. The seeds are common enough. Also, when thrown, they really leave a welt.
    Potatoes, of course, are clones. You take a tuber, cut it in four, plant it somewhere, and the new plant is genetically the same as the old one.
    This improves consistency and yield but increases susceptibility to disease. You’re photocopying a photocopy. Every smudge gets on the next copy. For this reason, PEI potatoes sold as seed are required to have a documented maximum number of clone years. It was five IIRC growing up. After that, table potatoes.

  21. Harvey says:

    I have heard about these from older relatives. Across the PacificNW fifty+ years ago this was normal on potato crops. From what they say in the late fifties it started to decrease and pretty much stopped by the early sixties. Nature is a fickle beast.

  22. Sparty says:

    The picture of the one cut open looks like the inside of a tomatillo.

  23. Jes says:

    We had these this year as well though I’ve never seen them before. Strange. I wondered if they would ripen and change color like the other nightshade fruits do … so far no luck.

  24. Wanda says:

    Yup, we had the little fruits this year too. Never seen them before. Our summer in SW Ontario was wet and cold this year too. Lots of potato fruit. Lots of potatoes too.

    Thanks for the all the info.

    Wanda

  25. Carl says:

    Not surprising that they look like a tomatillo- Tomatillos are also nightshades. There is another nightshade, Solanum quitoense, or Naranjilla, where the green fruits are poisonous, but the ripe fruits are very much edible and used in juices, jellies, etc. in South America. Didn’t know that green tomatoes contained the poison, but not surprised, either.

  26. Scratch Farm says:

    Does anyone know when to seed the true seeds in the Northeast?  I have some seeds, but don’t want to start them too early or too late?  thanks.

  27. Rachel says:

    From what I have heard and looked up, they make a hybrid tomato potato plant where the fruits once red are not poisonous.  It makes cherry tomatoes upstairs while potatoes downstairs.  Look up the Tomato potato plant

  28. Scratch Farm says:

    The potato seeds I saved from fruits last year have germinated!  I think I may have seeded them a week or two late, does anyone have any tips for growing them?  I plan on treating them like tomatoes.

  29. utari says:

    owh, potato is a name for green tomato..wow!
    nice info, thanks.

  30. Mike in France says:

    Well, just looked this subject up as my Potato plants have fruits this year, here in the midde of France. Strange, not seen this before. Not sure of variety at the moment, must look them up.

  31. Eric in French Alps says:

    I have one single fruit amongst many potato plants.  It is growing on a Desiree variety planted next to Ratte variety.  I will save it and plant the seeds next season.  Thank you for all the great info.

  32. Axman says:

    Deb, are your sure green tomatoes contain solanine? If so, it is not enough to hurt anyone. Fried green tomatoes are a delicacy eaten in great quantities all across the southern U. S. We slice the tomatoes a quarter inch thick, salt them, dredge them in corn meal, and fry them in hot peanut oil. They have no bitter taste, and I never heard of anyone getting so much as a headache or slight gastric upset from them.

  33. Mike G says:

    I have quite a lot of potato fruits on my Desiree potatoes this year.  I had never seen them before and no-one I spoke to had seen them either including the man who runs the farm shop nearby!  My Desirees are planted next to some Maris Bards and some Rockets; both first earlies.  I’m unclear as to whether it is likely that the fruit indicates self fertilisation or cross fertilisation with one of the other two. 
    I intend treating them like I do with tomato seeds which I collect most years, namely collect them when the fruit is ripe and then next Spring get them to germinate on the window sill before moving them on.  From reading this website I am expecting that the first year I will get only small potatoes suitable for using as seed potatoes the next year.
    Am I correct in assuming that this is how big firms develop new varieties?  If so I suppose they do it on a grand scale and our chances of getting a good new one are very small.  All the same it will be a bit of fun.  Since it seems fairly rare I wonder if they have some way of getting more fruit?
    Thanks for the help on this site.

  34. Antonia G says:

    Hi,  I too have potato fruit this year.  does anyone know how to tell if the fruit is ripe and ready to be dried?  I would like to try and plant them next year to see what happens.

  35. Peter C says:

    Hi i was informed of the following
    The potato fruit are of no value to the gardener. Potato fruit, as well as the plant itself, contain relatively large amounts of solanine. Solanine is a poisonous alkaloid. The small fruit should not be eaten. Since potatoes don’t come true from seed, no effort should be made to save the seed

  36. Nic Spiers (UK, Dorset) says:

    I looked up this fruit 3 years ago and found a small amount of info.  This is clearly more informative.  I have had these fruits on supermarket bought main crop potatoes (desiree) that rooted in the cupboard, then planted out.  Also, this year, they have appeared on desiree seed potatoes.  When do we know they are ripe enough to harvest ready for experimental re-sowing?

  37. Harry says:

    Saved seed year before last.  Separated the seed out and dried it on paper towel like I would a tomato.  Last  year I sprouted them indoors and transplanted in may.  I harvested the tubers and saved any bigger then a dime.  This spring I planted a row … red …. white … blue … everything.  Will harvest in the fall for seed.  Maybe next year a taste test.  This is turning into a four year project.

  38. Chris says:

    Since potatoes don’t come true from seed, every effort should be made to save the seed

  39. Kim says:

    Last year I grew potatoes saved from the Blue Victor fruit seed, and all was well. Also, on the plants produced from seed potatoes I had the fruit seed.
    Generally what I have been told is the seed fruit when planted, may not grow as the seed potato you planted in the spring, but might return to either parent potato.
    This year, I grew the potatoes from the fruit tomato, along with potato seed same variety from another source, and have potato seed balls on all plants.
    Also this year, I received a seed ball from the White Rose, Russet, Carola.  We grow heirloom potatoes.  The seeds are small, but I have them air drying on a plate.

  40. David Robinson says:

    We planted potatoes for te first time this year, in the north west of England, and now have a number of fruit on  several of the plants. Not sure how to tell when fruit will be ripe, open to advice. will attempt to plant seeds next year.

  41. Kim says:

    Hi David,  Wait until the potatoes die back and the plants and fallen, then take the seed balls.
    I generally squish out the seeds of the fruit, and let them dry on a white plate, this way you can see if there are abnormalities.  They will be very small and off white/yellow.
     
    Kim
     

  42. I get these potatoe fruit on just about all my plants ever year, and then have to go round almost daily to pick them off before the young children who play on the site start picking them to eat.

  43. misshathorn says:

    Have a look at tatermaterseeds (  http://tatermaterseeds.com/  )  for all the information you need and many good tips on growing from TPS. Also Tom is willing to send seed – I grew out some of his last year and posted the results here –
    http://mustardplaster.blogspot.com/2010/10/further-adventures-with-potato-seed.html
    He is working on crosses that have great resistance to late blight. It’s a lot of fun if you have the space.
     

  44. andy says:

    @misshathorn—Thanks for those excellent links. I’ll need to remember to plant my potato seeds in March.

  45. fruit says:

    fruits are good for health

  46. MikeG says:

    Tried to germinate the seeds I harvested last year.  I did it the same way I do it for tomatoes and I got some to germinate but they were so feeble that they just didn’t grow beyond the very first stage.  Disappointing.  So much for my new variety!

  47. rory says:

    Had these last year on my potatoes in ireland in some really terrible weather. The least sunny July on record here in Ireland. If I get them again this year Ill be trying for germination

  48. Chit Ranjan Kagdee says:

    Hi,
    I just discovered a fruit on my potato plants in my kitchen garden too. This is the first time I ever seen that. Especially in Dehradun, India. Will try and save the seeds to plant the next year. Has any found this in Indian potatoes?

  49. Amalie Hohn says:

    Wow thank you all for the great information.  This is only my second year growing potatos and I had never heard of them fruiting until I just found some while watering.  “what the. . .” says I and off to the internet to find out.  May try saving the seed.  Mine are banana fingerlings from an organic catalogue.  Worth trying but I find that I am a poor parent and sometimes forget my young so they may end up as so much dust in my work shed. 

  50. Anne Parker says:

    This is my 3rd year of growing potatoes, but my first to find potato fruits.  These are on my early Wilja potatoes – one of the plants looked a bit sad compared to the others so decided to dig it up first and found only 3 largish potatoes, but also 3 fruit – guess the fruit stopped the gowth!  May try growing from seed if I can remember to save it and look after it properly.

  51. Kim says:

    Remember after the potato plant  dies down,  pick the fruit wait a few days, and then press out the seeds of the fruit on white dish, you can see the brownish seeds. Let them air dry in a dry, cool, dark place.  Once dried, then pick off the seeds and store in an envelope in a cool dark place. label them and plant outside next year.  The potatoes you get may be a of one of the parents, but will not be the original fruit.  I am on my third year planting out from seeds of my Blue Victor. Last years potoatoes were red and white skinned mix, from the original dark purple. Can hardly wait to see what they will be this year.

  52. Shirleyanne says:

    Last year 2010, Ihad some potato plants that had seed. This year I have some plants that have flowers and I will try to save some of the seed to grow and see what happens.

  53. Stephen says:

    I’m getting lots of fruit this year from Adirondack Blues in New Jersey.  Wet Spring; pretty normal temperatures.

    I heard a lecture a few years ago about solanine-containing crops, given by a USDA researcher who was trying to minimize the risks.  Yeah, green tomatoes are poisonous.  Presumably the varieties used for frying aren’t so bad.  Also, as they get decently big the solanine levels are dropping.  For that matter, I’ve made green tomato pie (like apple pie, but the tomatoes have no pectin).  The interesting thing is that solanine binds to cholesterol, neutralizing both.  Wikipedia says that about 2.5 times the dose of solanine that just produces symptoms can kill, so trying a little more at a time until symptoms occur is unreasonably dangerous (atropine, with its awful reputation, gives a wider margin).

  54. Brandy says:

    I have just dicovered our potato plants have these same little fruits on them this year. I had never seen that before. So I hit the web too. So thanks to this site, I now know what they are. Thanks. I also suspected it was the weather as we’ve had a strange year with the weather here in England.

  55. Heather says:

    Ive never seen that in the few years ive been growing potatoes. Very interesting

  56. barbara s, says:

    this also happened to me this year strange than fiction,

  57. Pogs says:

    So those of you who plant the seeds did you get tubbers?  Were they any good or edible?

  58. Kim says:

    Oh yes, you get tuber potatoes, the exciting thing is they are not the same thing from the parent.  The parent plant is generally a cross of two types.  You may get one of the parents or a slightly different mix of parently lineage going on.  I have the third generation in the ground of the Blue Victor, I cannot wait to see what we get.
    This year I planted Blue Russian for the first time and they too have produced fruit balls, very interesting year.  Of course we also have a large potato bug outbreak this year, picking them off twice a day.

  59. Toni says:

    Thanks to all that have posted ~ great info~  I have some fruit on my potatoes~ and tried harvesting~ no seeds inside. I hope if I give them time they will mature. So I am guessing when to harvest the seed. Can I plant the true seed next season and harvest the tubers for eating, or do I need to plant the first tubers from true seed the following year?

  60. Kim says:

    Hi Toni,
     
    Leave the fruit on your potatoes as they go down, even harvest after the stocks have died. The fruit I have this year is small, not like last year which were big, and I suspect its because of the lack of rain here and hot weather.
     
    If you do get seed this year, dry them out and plant then in small peat pots to get going, and transplant them into the ground, or try planting the seed directly.
     
    You can eat the tubers from the 1st year of growth.  Keep some seed potatoes from this lot and plant out next year, and see how they change.  It is a fascinating experiment.

  61. rachel green says:

    hi im new on this my 8 year old is an avid gardener and has this year grown his first crop of potatoes maris piper i think, and after the flowers came the little green balls which thanks to you guys i now know are seeds!!!  have told him what ive found on here and he cant wait to try to grow them. we live in nottinghamshire uk . he normally sticks to varietys of beans cabbage pumpkins and brussel sprouts tomatos! thanks for all the info will have a look again for other planting/growing tips

  62. i just wounded can you eat the potatos you grow from the seeds 
     

  63. Probiotics says:

    That potato fruit sure does look WEIRD. This is my first time to see this kind of fruit. Weird looking one though. Does it taste good despite its looks? 

  64. Kim says:

    Yes for sure you can, they are ok to eat, its just the lineage that is
    different.

    Kim

  65. Andy says:

    @prominence DON’T eat the fruit; it’s poisonous.

    @williambiggs31297 It’s fine to eat the tubers grown from the seeds; they’re just the same as other potatoes. You can also keep (some of) them as seed potatoes for next year.

  66. vivienne lord says:

    Hi, I have for the 1st time in my life (I’m 58) grown potatoes, they have produced many green balls which I now know (thanks to you) that they are seeds. Please can someone advise me on how to preserve the seeds and when and how to plant them out. I really am a novice. I live in the South West Of Birmingham UK
                                                                          Many thanks
                                                                                                Vivienne..
                                                                      

  67. H. Okerstrom says:

    This is the first time I have ever seen and or had in my garden in 30 years. Just goes to show we’re never too old to learn something new.
    They are not on all my potato plants just a few. I planted different varieties…seem to only on the russet kind.

  68. su says:

    I got em too!…………….in Powell River in BC.

  69. No wonder their are still comments being made on this topic, it is truly odd. Got some on my potato plants and was searching for some info on what in the world they were. Thanks for the education.

  70. Rabbits says:

    This potato fruit is weird-looking. I wonder though if this one is edible. If ever if its edible, can we use it in dishes? Instead of using normal potatoes, use this one instead? I’m kind of curious if this works as well. 
    http://www.benefitsoffishoil.com.au

  71. Dalles Hayes says:

    Definitely not edible Rabbits, all green parts of the potato plant are poisonous.  It is quite common for us to get these potato fruits in certain varieties here in Southern Tasmania.

  72. Wessie says:

    Should I make that we get rid of all these fruit when we dig up our potatoes as we don’t want them to grow into new potatoes.

    Thanks

  73. Kim says:

    Hi Wessie,
     
    Why not?  It is an experiment to see the parent potato from the seed.  Its potato growth at its rawest form, from the seed.
     
    Kim

  74. Wessie says:

    Well that’s fine but will be growing cabbages next year in that part and don’t really want potatoes coming up.

  75. Max says:

    wow, i’m amazed to find all this info,  i thought at first that they were tiny spuds had come to the surface as i’d not earthed up enough, (as they came up having been left in the soil by accident from last years crop.) then today i noticed they were next to the flowers, rather than from under the soil.
    i’ll keep a few to see how they go on next spring!

  76. Anne says:

    We just discovered our little green fruits on our one (volunteer) potato plant.  I don’t even 
    know what type it is,  I have been waiting to dig up the potatoes.    I thought that it smelled like a kiwi fruit somewhat.   My husband tasted it (just a tiny bit) so now I am glad to get the info on the poisonous fruit! 

  77. cassidy says:

    we found the fruit on potatoes in a field and a bunch of people were tasting and licking them i licked the fruit to!!! WILL ANYTHING HAPPEN TO ANYONE OF US!!!!!!!!

    P.S. they taste like kiwi!!!

  78. Kim says:

    Don’t eat them, they are very bitter. Licking them will not give you any taste.. You can squeeze out the seeds after they are ripe, on   a plate, let them dry, and plant them next year.
     
    I harvested my 3rd generation of Blue Victor potato from the seed, and they are still a vey light purple, so they seem to be keeping one of the parents traits, harvest not too bad either, size med to large with smaller ones .
     
    Kim

  79. Caroline says:

    I have had potatoe fruit 2 years running in my small garden in Fleet, Hampshire, UK.  I’d previously planted shop bought Desiree potatoes that had ‘eyes and shoots’.  I’ve just separated the seeds too and will now take the advice of drying them out and planting next March.

  80. Mary Ann Warner says:

    Our first year gardening in Taos, NM and planted many kinds of potatoes, noticing these green fruits that look similar to green cherry tomatoes. These were on just about every kind of potato, however, maybe not on each plant: Red Rose, Yukon Gold, Banana Fingerling and some kind of Red Fingerling …and Blue Potatoes! I was wondering if our elevation, 7,200 ft. had anything to do with their appearance? I collected a few when I first noticed them but they seemed to disappear but when digging up potatoes noticed a lot of these seed pods on top of soil under the plants. I collected most of the fruits. Interesting that the fruits from the Blue Potatoes were also dark blue instead of bright green like the other fruits.
    Now that I know they are seed pods, will save seeds and plant next spring. Glad to find this info and solve the mystery of the potato fruit.

  81. Glenn says:

    Thanks for article. I’ve had what looks like a potato plant grow from a pile of compost in my yard; when small green fruit appeared a week ago I started to doubt it was a potato plant after all.

  82. GBreisch says:

    Was strolling in my garden on May 13th, 2012 at about 12:54 PM (Mother’s Day) when I came across some attactive flowers on top of my Potato plants at about lat/lon 36.120615/-96.144974 neare the end of a long row I planted in early spring. They were red potatoes. If you have never planted potatos, I recommend the experience.

    I recall planting potatoes many years ago but, I was much younger and did not take the time to observe the things that make a garden much more colorful and interesting. In my retirement I have learned to stop and observe the many details that make a garden more interesting. I searched for “Potato Flowers” on Google and “behold!!!” there they were, identical flowers that i had seen on thos red potato plat green leaf tops.

    Oh the joy of discovering the many details of nature!

    Be sure to show the location of your discoveries in your comments or blog posts. I personally like the latitude & longitude in decimal degrees that you can find using Google Earth. Let me know if you need help with that and find me at by searching for gbreisch with Google.

  83. Debra says:

    I planted some Yukon golds in these potato bags you buy from Walmart, similar to the topsy turvy, only this container sits on the ground. I have never planted potatoes before. One day my husband walked by and asked me what they were, I had no idea until I found this blog.
    Two little containers side by side are cover with these fruits, Now I am really excited for next year!! When should I start them in peat pods next year?

    a happy Debra in central Alabama!!!!

  84. Kim says:

    Hi Debra,

    You need to get the seeds out of the little fruit ball first and dry them. Squeeze them out on a white plate(easier to see if there are any issues) and plant direct in the ground after your last frost. Remember though that if the potato has been modified (gm ) in anyway, the seed may be sterile. If not then the potato, may look different than the original potato you grew. Always good to take a picture of the plant, potato, and the seed. Once grown, they are ok to eat,as a potato. Just do not eat the fruit as is, since it can be poisonous.

    Kim

  85. Toni says:

    OK, I planted some of last years tps in green house this March. The plants that came up look like a succulent….? I just planted them outside and now we will see what happens. What does everyone elses plant look like evolving from true potato seed?

    Toni (Oregon)

  86. charles says:

    We had these in our potatos this year could not find out what they where thanks for this post

  87. Rusty T. says:

    Thanks for all the info. I have gardened with my family since I was 5 years old & 51 years later this is my first to find potato fruit. We had purchased 2lds.of seed potatoes in Murray Ky.45 miles from our home in Kevil Ky.regardless the seed potatoes planted on a 60ft row on a mound has yielded about after 4 harvestings 80 lbs of spuds & still growing. All we do after digging & carefull not to damage the root source is cover the root system back up plus add soil little higher to the base of the plant & this has amazed friends & family the plants continue to bare. I am as others on this site are excited to see if any of the fruits will germanate.Thanks again for this info Rusty T. on the West Coast of Kentucky

  88. TANK1169 says:

    HAD 1 POISON POTATO FRUIT ON A RED PONTIAC POTATO PLANT OUT OF TWO ROLLS !!!

  89. Kai Li says:

    My wife noticed this wonderful fruit on her 50th birthday yesterday, for the first time.
    I was excited!

  90. Mike G says:

    Here I go again. Two years ago I had potato fruit on my Desiree main crop potatoes. I gathered the seeds and then germinated them the next year (see blogs above). Unfortunately they were sickly weak plants and didn’t survive. This year I have yet again got flowers which I expect will give me seeds. These are on earlies (which I like more anyway) so I’ll try again. GBreisch asked us all for the lat and lon so 51-29’01.45N and 0-21’00.91W or to put it another way, next time you are landing at Heathrow (from the East 90% of the time) look out of the window on the starboard side two minutes before landing and you should be able to see the plant in question.

  91. Rose says:

    Thank you so much for posting this info. I too found these little fruits on my potatoes this year (in Oklahoma) – had no clue what they were. Now I know!

    I guess I’ll try to save and plant the seeds and see what happens.

  92. Carleta says:

    hi all from the oregon coast. this is the first year i have had the fruit but this is a very wet year. i am interested in planting the seeds next year, starting them in the green house. is there a drying process for them. how do i know when to pick them. thanks for any help.

  93. Juliet says:

    This was my first season to every try growing potato and I too had some potato fruit grow from my blue tomato…it was so wierd. I am glad that I found this blog because I might have tried to either bury it to see what it does or try to cook it. It is wiered though, the fruit are bigger than the potatoes (the latter are not ready for harvest yet, but I had to check when I saw the fruit).

  94. Dan says:

    Here in Southern Maryland, we had them on my Granddad’s potatoes plants this year. I read what they were and cut one open to see and smell the insides, definitely not going to eat it though, but this is the first year that I’ve ever them on potato plants.

  95. Rhys Jaggar says:

    Here in North West London, UK, I am seeing just this this year, 2012.

    The only thing we can say this year is this: we’ve had more rain than ever before! The plants are far huger than ever before. And I created my own in situ composting factory in between the rows to help them on their way in the cool, damp spring we had.

    My evolutionary theory would be this: they are the back-up means of propagating potatoes, to cater for when the soil runs out of nutrients, the location gets poisoned or the plant is so full of abundance that it can afford to produce them.

  96. Patsy says:

    I have them too. What worries me is that my dalmatian, one year old, has been playing with them, may have even eaten a little! Scary now I know they are poisonous. Thanks for the update.

  97. Bill says:

    Some taters in storage were sprouting & starting to rot, so in late May divided off and planted the eyes. It has been cool and wet here in the Pacific Northwest this Spring & into summer, and the potato plants expoded out of the ground, producing the most beautiful little white flowers and now the little green fruit… never saw these before, and so searched and found your blog. Thanks for sharing – this is so interesting. I’ll try planting the seeds next season and see what happens.

  98. hossein says:

    I have removed all the potato fruits from my plants and disposed of them as they are toxic. Can I eat the actual tubers from these plants or are they also harmful?

  99. Sheri says:

    When I saw the fruit developing early on I thought I had a tomato plant that popped up in my compost. Finding no information in any of my garden books , and I have a lot of them, I took to the internet and found your Blog. My red potatoes put out fruit. Not knowing what to do I just replanted them after harvesting my potatoes yesterday. The big surprise was when I dug a red out that was 6.5 inches long.

    • Terri says:

      My mother-in law has these things this year and we live in Minnesota, we had never seen anything like this ever.. My sister found your web sight and sent it to me and I think that this is very interesting.. I will Honest I tried on of them things that was growing and they are very bitter, I spit it out right away, I had not lasting effects from it, but now my sister did the same thing not sure if she left it in her mouth longer then I did, but now she has been having some stomach issues. Nothing that has sent to the hospital just some bought of Nausea. Thanks again for the info and will be looking for more interesting things to come in the future…

  100. Cooder says:

    will try that in the future :))

  101. Mell says:

    Hi

    Grief thanks for all the info – this is the first time I’d ever seen these fruit, am hanging onto the seed for next year and see what happens. Thank you all for the info – weather has been sublime here -heat for once !!

    M

  102. Hi,I`m in salford,uk,just found this ‘bunch of grapes’ on maris Piper,I`ve been growing spuds on and off for 40 odd years,never seen the likes before !!!!

  103. K.Y. says:

    Have these weird green fruit on my Red Desiree potatos this year. Glad I found this blog.
    Thanks to OP.

  104. maddie says:

    I have also found potato fruits on my Maris Piper potato plant! At first I thought they were tomatoes, and that I was going crazy, but this has explained everything well. Thank you!

  105. bob loggerheads says:

    Tuesday 24/7/13

    I’ve also had these “grapes” on one plant of my small Maris Piper crop this year. Never seen them before. I can post pics if anyone wants.
    Thanks for info.

  106. mike says:

    after growing maris piper and king edward close together for the past three years i have noticed fruit for the first time on the maris pipers only ? i will harvest them and have fun next year trying to grow from seed. Thanks for the info on this site.PS does any body want any seeds ?

  107. Mick says:

    I have the same fruit on my potato’s
    Very odd. my wife swore blind they where
    Cherry tomato’s

  108. Tia says:

    Just found a bunch on mine… don’t remember what variety, they were grown from refrigerator left overs.
    I’m towards the North of Sweden too, been very warm and very very wet this last two weeks, plus the previous dry weeks I watered a lot. Recent thunderstorms and floods have done a number on my plants and uncovered a few tubers early too, they already look awesome too. Huge compared to this time of year. Quickly recovered them to keep them going a little longer.
    I hadn’t even seen the fruits until the torrential rain had forced them off the plants. Will certainly save for experimental growth for my girls for next year.

  109. cdkowalewski says:

    I’m in great lakes area of US in Michigan. 2013 has been a very wet summer with hot and cold periods. Potatoes fruited for the first time (in 15 years!). I planted small white potatoes, no variety listed. Soil was last years planting mix from many big flower pots dumped into a new raised bed. Usually I plant whatever sprouts in my veg drawer. Best results ever were with the purple fingerlings from a mixed bag of “gourmet fingerlings”. The purples are still self-seeding 5 years later and they are prolific (like weeds with food attached). I don’t have potato bugs. Every year I plant french marigold plants on the sides of my potato, tomato and eggplant beds. I also keep last season’s marigold seed and sprinkle in beds like grass seed. Since I learned that trick years ago, I have had NO BUGS. I will save and plant these potato seeds to see what comes up. Do they need to be started early indoors since they are seeds? Thanks everyone for this info, especially about them being poisonous. They do look exactly like cherry tomatoes.

  110. Anne says:

    I am growing potatoes for the first time this year and found fruit on one or two of the plants. I’ll probably try growing them because I love the idea of growing my own from seed!
    Thanks for the information. (and yes, Google had this as the first result after wikipedia)

  111. Candi says:

    Thanks for the blog. I was home growing some Idaho potatoes that rooted in my pantry and one plant grew a fruit on it. Nice to know not to attempt to taste one lol

  112. Randy says:

    Google strikes again! :) I was out weeding in my Yukon Gold patch tonight and found a fruit, took a pic of it. I’ve gardened for 40 years, never planted potatoes until the last 3 years. First time seeing a fruit, I’ll look for more and save the seed. I planted a few Russets that had started sprouting in the cupboard, maybe a cross with the Yukon Gold.

  113. Terri says:

    I have grown potatoes in potato grow bags in my back garden for around 4 years now and this is the first year I have had the fruits appear. My variety are all maris piper this year.

    After the internet search we realised what they were and had to cut them all off the plants-I have filled a carrier bag with the fruit off my plants (6 potato growing bags in all).

    The dog had also been playing with them and eating them, I am not sure how many she has eaten- I have been clearing up just reminantes of the skins for a few days. After my little education I rang our vets as she has had an upset stomach and diarrhoea for a few days. Our dog ended up being kept in over night to keep an eye on her for suspected Solanine poisoning.

    A rather expensive lesson and next time I will be keeping a closer eye on the potatoes and removing them at the first sign of them appearing.

  114. I too found my first potato fruit in my growbag, must be the insects’ efficiency and the weather! I will harvest my first seeds and see how to propagate my own breed.

  115. Polly Etheridge says:

    Hi, we just harvested our potatos and the plants had ober 50 fruit on!! Not sure what to do now…
    We are first time growers and this post has been great, but still not really sure, do we cut the fruit open and plant the seeds straight from the fruit? Or do we just plant them as full fruit? And do we do it now or wait till next spring? We have a mixed-veg garden, which is only small and don’t want the potatos to dominate it all like this year!
    Any advice would be gratefully received! Thank you.

  116. Lee Dobson says:

    Ive just stumbled upon this as I have also got these tomato looking bunches on some of my plants.
    May I ask when can I replant seeds?

  117. K. Chamberlain says:

    Planted sprouting grocery potatoes. All had the same strange green balls. Mystery solved. Thanks.

  118. Herb says:

    I just found these on mine, planted from sprouting store bought reds in July. How do you store them over the winter for next spring crop?

  119. JennyJey says:

    The picture of the one cut open looks like the inside of a tomatillo.
    I am fan of food

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