Economic Botany

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 58–72 | Cite as

Morphological variation among clones of ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus, Basellaceae) collected in Southern Peru

  • Arne Rousi
  • Paula Jokela
  • Risto Kalliola
  • Leena Pietilä
  • Jukka Salo
  • Matti Yli-Rekola


Material of 229 clones of ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus), representing 10 accessions from markets in southern Peru and one from the wild in Bolivia, was analyzed with regard to morphological variation. The diploid chromosome number (2n = 24) was ascertained in 16 of the clones. Clones grown in different environments (e.g., long vs. short day) retained a more or less similar order of variation with respect to color of the tubers, stems, and leaves and the length/width ratio of the leaves. The shape of fully developed tubers also showed stable variation. Within a single experiment several other vegetative characters showed significant differences between accessions. Furthermore, many flower and inflorescence characters showed variation between accessions, some of them also indicating geographical variation between the Puno-Juliaca area and the Cuzco area. Considerable variation between the clones of an accession was evident, some accessions being clearly more variable than others. Our results show that ulluco is a crop plant that varies extensively even within a geographically limited area. Although repeatedly referred to in the literature as a purely asexual crop, ulluco was shown to be capable of sexual reproduction; this must have been and possibly still is an important source of genetic variation in the species.


Economic Botany Peru Colombia Color Character Vegetative Character 


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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arne Rousi
  • Paula Jokela
  • Risto Kalliola
  • Leena Pietilä
  • Jukka Salo
  • Matti Yli-Rekola
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of TurkuTurku

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