Monday, 27 September 2010

Inky Oca Lands in London!

I've just received a sudden and unexpected surge of oca germplasm direct from darkest Peru!  Thanks to friend, Joel Carbonnel for giving me the pick from his box of mixed Andean tubers.
Pride of place must go to this almost-black oca.

It seems different to any of the other varieties I have; quite apart from the colour, the bulges below each eye are more defined and scale-like, and its overall proportion is longer.  The sprouts showing in the eyes are dark purple, and careful investigation with a scalpel reveals pale purple flesh.
Its rarity (or non-existence?) in these latitudes may be a sign that it will not tuberise well here, but even so, it could still be valuable as a breeding partner for the development of new varieties if it can be persuaded to flower.

The second tuber was nearly ignored, being a variety that I already have, but...
...then I noticed that one end was striped with a contrasting pale pink. If I discard the non-striped end, the remaining eyes should produce all-stripped tubers.

And finally this gold-coloured Mashua. I don't think it is a rare variety, but it's new to me, and next year I'll be trying it alongside the white variety that I have already.

The tubers will be seasonally confused, having just gone through winter in another hemisphere, and they are showing signs of sprouting. I need to get them into cool storage straight away where they can recover from their jet-lag before next spring. I know from experience that they should be tough enough to survive 'til then, as long as they don't get too dried out.


  1. Tres interessant, n'est pas? Sometimes both colour and shape are less pronounced when varieties are grown over here, but it's certainly fun to add black ocas to your collection. I've been trying a dark purple variety this year and it has flowered quite well, so there is hope for incorporating genes from these more unusual varieties into a breeding programme. Their non-appearance here could just be an accident of geography, market availability etc. I'm a firm believer in just trying things. Good luck!

  2. I would love you would can it is not possible to get it to give a corm in Hungary yet