Solanaceae Source

A global taxonomic resource for the nightshade family

Solanum violaceimarmoratum

Citation author: 
Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 11: 389. 1912.
Bolivia. La Paz: Nor Yungas, Unduavi, 3300 m, 12 Feb 1907, O. Buchtien 764 (holotype, W; isotypes, HBG, US00027849 [Correll neg. 887, BM000881985, F-1603205, LL, MO-5588803, NY, UC1152480]).
Last edited by: 
Spooner, D.M.
Written by: 
Spooner, D.M. & D. Fajardo
Herbs 0.5-3 m tall, semierect to erect. Stems 3-15 mm in diameter at base of plant, green to green mottled with purple, unwinged or with very narrow wings less than 0.8 mm wide, puberulent to glabrous with whitish simple hairs; tubers typically moniliform (multiple tubers arranged along the stolon like beads on a necklace).
Sympodial structure: 
Sympodial units tri- to plurifoliate, not geminate.
Leaves odd-pinnate, the blades 5-30 (38) x 5-23 (30) cm, medium green, membranous to chartaceous, sparsely to densely pubescent adaxially, densely pubescent abaxially; lateral leaflet pairs 2-4, subequal or the leaflets decreasing in size gradually from the leaf base, with the terminal leaflet usually larger than the laterals; most distal lateral leaflets 2.5-10.5 (12) x 0.4-4 (6) cm, ovate to elliptic, the apex acuminate, the base with petiolules up to 6 mm, symmetrical to more commonly asymmetrical with more tissue on the basiscopic side; terminal leaflet 3.1-13.5 x 1.2-7 cm, ovate to elliptic, the apex acuminate elongated, the base round or obtuse, with secondary leaflets on the petiolule absent; interjected leaflets 0-4, sessile, ovate to orbicular; petioles 2-10.5 cm, finely to coarsely pubescent with hairs like those of the stems. Pseudostipules minute to 5 mm long, pubescent with hairs like those of the stem.
Inflorescences 10-19.5 cm, terminal with a subtending axillary bud, generally in distal half of the plant, usually forked, with 4-48 flowers, with all flowers apparently perfect, the axes puberulent with hairs like those of the stem; peduncle 2.5-9 cm long; pedicels 10-27 mm long in flower and fruit, spaced 1-10 mm apart, articulated between middle to the proximal ¼.
Flowers homostylous, 5-merous. Calyx 7-9 mm long, the tube 1-2 mm, the lobes 4-11 mm, long attenuate, the acumens 0.8-0.3 mm long, sparsely pubescent. Corolla 1.5-2.2 cm in diameter, pentagonal to rotate, light purple to dark purple rarely white, the rays light or dark purple, the tube 1-2 mm long, the acumens 0.3-8 mm long, the corolla edges not folded, glabrous adaxially, minutely puberulent abaxially, ciliate at the margins, especially at the tips of the corollas. Stamens with the filaments 1-2 mm long; anthers 4-7 mm long, lanceolate, connivent, yellow, poricidal at the tips, the pores lengthening to slits with age. Ovary glabrous; style 8-10 mm x 0.3-0.6 mm, exceeding stamens by 1-5 mm, straight, glabrous; stigma clavate to capitate.
Fruit a conical berry, 1.4-2.7 cm long, 1-2.4 cm wide, light green when ripe, glabrous.
Seeds from living specimens ovoid and ca. 2 mm long, whitish to greenish in fresh condition and drying brownish, with a thick covering of “hair-like” lateral walls of the testal cells that make the seeds mucilaginous when wet, green-white throughout; testal cells honeycomb-shaped when lateral walls removed by enzyme digestion.

Solanum violaceimarmoratum occurs in southern Peru (Dept. Cuzco) to central Bolivia (Dept. Cochabamba), in moist habitats, often in rich organic soils, in sunny openings in woods or at forest edges, or montane forest shrubs, often in disturbed habitats such as streamsides or roadsides or landslides; 1800-3800 m in elevation.

Flowering and fruiting records found from January to October, but perhaps flowering and fruiting year-round.

Solanum violaceimarmoratum is a member of Solanum sect. Petota Dumort., the tuber-bearing cultivated and wild potatoes. Within sect. Petota, Solanum violaceimarmoratum is a member of a distinctive group of species formerly classified in series Conicibaccata (see below). On a higher taxonomic level, it is a member of the informally-named Potato Clade, a group of perhaps 200-300 species that also includes the tomato and its wild relatives (Bohs, 2005).


Hawkes (1990) treated Solanum violaceimarmoratum as one of 40 species in Solanum sect. Petota series Conicibaccata Bitter, a group containing diploids (2n = 24), tetraploids (2n = 48), and hexaploids (2n = 72). The polyploids are mainly distributed from southern Mexico south to central Peru (one species in northern Bolivia), and the diploids from northern Peru to central Bolivia.

The species boundaries and relationships of members of series Conicibaccata have been studied using plastid DNA restriction sites (Castillo and Spooner, 1997), morphology (Castillo and Spooner, 1997; Fajardo et al., 2008), AFLPs (Jiménez et al., 2008), nuclear DNA (“waxy”) sequence data (Spooner et al., 2008), other nuclear DNA sequence data (in preparation by Fajardo and Spooner), and monographic studies (Hawkes, 1990; Hawkes and Hjerting, 1989; Ochoa, 1990, 1999). The plastid DNA restriction site and morphological data divide the diploids and polyploids into two clades or phenetic groups, respectively, but the morphological separation generally depends on the use of character states that sometimes overlap in range. The DNA sequence data show the polyploids to be of allopolyploid origin from the diploid members of the series and members of species outside of the series.

A monographic study in progress by Fajardo and Spooner, using the above data, and herbarium specimens, will recognize only 17 species. All are very similar, united as a group by conical fruits, leaves with generally parallel sided morphology, and narrowly ovate to elliptical leaflets. However, some unrelated species also have conical fruits, such as the Mexican diploid species S. hintonii Correll, S. lesteri Hawkes and Hjert. and S. trifidum Correll; the Mexican hexaploid species S. iopetalum (Bitter) Hawkes; and the Bolivian species S. circaeifolium Bitter. An additional problem is that some species possess ovoid fruits that are not absolutely distinct from the conical fruits of the above species or the globose fruits more common in the majority of the members of sect. Petota.

Solanum violaceimarmoratum is the southernmost distributed species in series Conicibaccata, occurring from southern Peru to central Bolivia. The species is characterized its large plants and leaves, dense leaf pubescence, and terminal leaflet dimension larger than the lateral leaflets with round leaflet bases.


Hawkes, J.G. & J.P. Hjerting 1989. The potatoes of Bolivia: their breeding value and evolutionary relationships.
Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Hawkes, J.G. 1990. The potato: evolution, biodiversity and genetic resources.
Oxford: Belhaven Press.

Castillo-T., R., & D.M. Spooner 1997. Phylogenetic relationships of wild potatoes, Solanum series Conicibaccata (sect. Petota).
Syst. Bot. 22: 45-83.

Ochoa, C.M. 1999. Las papas de sudamerica: Peru (Parte I).
Lima, Peru: International Potato Center.

Bohs, L. 2005. Major clades in Solanum based on ndhF sequences.
Pp. 27-49 in R. C. Keating, V. C. Hollowell, & T. B. Croat (eds.), A festschrift for William G. D’Arcy: the legacy of a taxonomist. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden, Vol. 104. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.

Hijmans, R., T. Gavrilenko, S. Stephenson, J. Bamberg, A. Salas & D.M. Spooner 2007. Geographic and environmental range expansion through polyploidy in wild potatoes (Solanum section Petota).
Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 16: 485-495.

Spooner, D.M., F. Rodríguez, Z. Polgár, H.E. Ballard Jr. & S.H. Jansky 2008. Genomic origins of potato polyploids: GBSSI gene sequencing data.
The Plant Genome, a suppl. to Crop Sci. 48 (S1): S27–S36.

Jiménez, J.P., A. Brenes, A. Salas, D. Fajardo & D.M. Spooner 2008. The use and limits of AFLP data in the taxonomy of polyploid wild potato species in Solanum series Conicibaccata.
Conserv. Genet. 9: 381-387.

Fajardo, D., R. Castillo, A. Salas, & D.M. Spooner 2008. A morphometric study of species boundaries of the wild potato Solanum series Conicibaccata: a replicated field trial in Andean Peru.
Syst. Bot. 33: 183-192.

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