Note Number: AG0332
Published: April 1999
Updated: August 2010
The present varieties are included in the Victorian Certified Seed Potato scheme, and descriptions of each are set out in this Agriculture Note.
Origin: Sequoia was introduced from the U.S.A. and was released in 1940. It was the result of a cross between Katahdin and Green Mountain.
Maturity: Late, capable of growing periods longer than 140 days. Usually matures from 10 to 14 days after Sebago.
Description: Plants - Large, spreading, with white flowers, berries generally present. Tubers - Smooth, white to cream coloured skin, short, oval flattened shape with fairly shallow eyes, except for the terminal eye cluster which tends to be depressed, more so on large tubers.
Cooking quality: Good table potato, usually with a low specific gravity. Uses in industry include canning (salads, soups, baby food). Not suitable for frying.
Disease resistance: Susceptible to leaf roll virus. Tubers are susceptible to late blight, hollow heart and to common and powdery scab.
Features: Very hardy plant, widely adaptable, recommended for non-irrigated areas. Also grown in early districts as it produces a greater weight of tubers in a shorter time than many other varieties. Close spacing in the row must be used when Sequoia is grown under irrigation to limit large and oversize tubers. Sequoia often sells for a lower price on the No. 1 grade market when other varieties are available.
Origin: Bred from a cross between Katahdin and Chippewa in the U.S.A., imported into Victoria in 1940.
Maturity: Mid-season variety with a growing period of about 130 days.
Description: Plants - Upright bush, pigmented flower buds with lilac flowers. Often produces berries which are generally seedless. Tubers – Bright white smooth skin, white flesh, shallow eyed, regular shape, thick, oval tubers. Lenticels are often prominent, especially when grown under wet conditions and detract form skin appearance.
Cooking quality: Good for all household purposes with produce from some districts suitable for processing into crisps and French fries. It usually has a medium to high specific gravity and reconditions moderately well.
Disease resistance: Susceptible to leaf roll virus and very susceptible to blackleg, Verticillium wilt and Fusarium wilt. It has a useful degree of resistance to late blight and takes virus X only slowly in the field. The tubers are less prone to powdery scab compared with Sequoia grown in early districts. Tubers are more susceptible to "brown fleck" than other varieties - especially when grown in lighter soils.
Features: Sebago consistently produces a good sample of marketable tubers and is a major variety for both the washed and brushed markets in Australia. It has a short dormant period making it suitable for double cropping systems/ kept seed areas. It is recommended for growing under irrigation because of the greater number of tubers produced per plant. Seed potatoes and those for table use need to be handled carefully as it is quite susceptible to storage rots.
Origin: Bred by the U.S.A. Department of Agriculture from a cross between two unnamed varieties. Imported to Australia in 1949 and released in Victoria in 1954.
Maturity: An early mid-season variety which has a growing period of about 110 days.
Description: Plants - Large, erect bush with large open leaves. Green buds with white flowers which are infrequent. Tubers - Smooth, white skinned, white fleshed, shallow eyed, and somewhat pear-shaped tubers are produced under favourable conditions. Kennebec typically sets its tubers close to the surface, necessitating a good hill to prevent losses from greening and grub damage to tubers.
Cooking quality: Its quality as a table potato is excellent. Kennebec can also be used for fry processing because of its reasonably high solids content, low sugars, good keeping characteristics and its ability to recondition. However, specialty varieties such as Russet Burbank for French fries and Atlantic for crisps have largely replaced it for commercial processing.
Disease resistance: Kennebec is susceptible to potato leaf roll virus, common scab, powdery scab and Verticillium alboatrum. It is less susceptible than Sebago to blackleg, Fusarium wilt and storage rots.
Features: Kennebec cannot be recommended for any situation where ample water is not available during the growing period. The tubers are easily damaged during harvesting but cure readily. Tubers tend to be large and inconsistently shaped.
Origin: Pontiac was bred from a cross between Triumph and Katahdin and was originally released in the USA in 1938 and to Australia in 1940. Red Pontiac, a selection with a brighter skin colour, was released in the USA in 1949. Certified seed of Red Pontiac was released in Australia in 1975.
Maturity: Early maturing variety with a growing period of about 110 days.
Description: Plants - Large, spreading, dark green leaves, pigmented buds with light purple flowers. Very poor berry formation. Tubers - Many round tubers with attractive red skin and white flesh. Deep eyes.
Cooking quality: Pontiac has a low specific gravity and is not suitable for fry processing. It has good flavour when boiled or baked and is a good salad potato in that it holds its shape after cooking, and rarely shows after-cooking darkening. A good potato for pre-packing and is at its best when fresh.
Disease resistance: Pontiac is susceptible to late blight, virus X, and leaf roll virus. It is also susceptible to common scab and powdery scab.
Features: An important variety for the red skin fresh market. It produces high yields, establishing quickly and bulking early. Prone to oversize and distorted tubers if irrigation and fertiliser is excessive. Skin colour can often be poor and may fade totally with eyes only remaining red. Tubers are susceptible to shatter crack particularly when dug form cold soils. Pontiac tubers have a short dormant period. Seed which is cool-stored should be kept at a slightly lower temperature than other varieties.
Origin: A selfed seedling of Katahdin selected by Mr C. Exton Snr of Kinglake. It was released to growers in 1949.
Maturity: A late variety with a growing period of between 130 and 140 days.
Description: Plants - Resembles Katahdin except that it is taller. Tubers - Creamy white skinned, white fleshed, short, thick, oval tubers.
Cooking quality: A general purpose potato which can produce acceptable fried products.
Disease resistance: Susceptible to late blight and leaf roll virus. Slow to contract virus X in the field. Resistant to mild mosaic. Exton tubers are prone to produce hollow heart and to chain tuberisation.
Features: Normally grown under irrigation but does have some drought resistance. Recommended for situations where Sebago may not succeed. Produces high yields of tubers suitable for the washing trade. Close planting must be practised when grown under irrigation to limit the size of tubers.
Origin: Introduced from the U.S.A. in 1938. Katahdin originated from a cross between two unnamed seedlings. An improved selection of Katahdin was imported from Vancouver and was released as certified seed in 1975.
Maturity: An early maturing variety with a growing period of between 110 and 115 days.
Description: Plants - Medium spreading, bush falling outwards with age. Lilac flowers with white tips. Good berry formation. Tubers - The tubers are glossy white, flat round to short-oval with shallow eyes and white flesh. Once favoured variety for washing and packing of the attractive appearance of the tubers, but largely replaced by Coliban and Sebago.
Cooking quality: A good general purpose potato. Katahdin normally has a low specific gravity, but is a good potato for domestic frying and has been used for commercial processing.
Disease resistance: Susceptible to late blight. Resistant to viruses A and X and has some resistance to leaf roll virus.
Features: The line of Katahdin now being used in the pathogen-tested seed scheme is superior to that used before. Katahdin now produces high yields of attractive tubers of a medium size. Katahdin is more susceptible to the potato tuber moth than other varieties. Recommended in-row spacing under irrigation is 150 - 200 mm
Origin: Bred at the Institute for Horticultural Development, Toolangi (DEPI) from a cross between Kennebec and V28-12 (Furore x 11-79). Released in 1974.
Maturity: In a late district, Coliban has a growth period of from 130 to 140 days and matures slightly later than Exton.
Description: Plants - An erect, tall type, with wiry, pigmented stems and small, open leaves. It has a white flower and often flowers for a long time. Tubers - The tuber is round, with shallow eyes and a white, bright skin which sometimes has a blue blush at the rose end. It has a long dormant period.
Cooking quality: The cooked tuber has a white flesh of good texture and flavour and shows little discolouration after cooking although disintegration can be problematic form some districts. It is easy to mash and bakes well. When grown in a suitable district, Coliban can be used for processing into French fries. Coliban is not suitable for commercial use in soups and salads.
Disease resistance: Coliban has a high field resistance to late blight. It is fairly susceptible to root knot eelworm and is susceptible to virus X and bacterial wilt. The growing crop is susceptible to attack by Fusarium.
Features: Coliban is a major fresh market variety for the washed trade in Australia. It can produce very high yields of marketable tubers with little waste. Use close spacing in the row and avoid excessive irrigation to limit growth of tubers. Coliban rarely produces tubers with hollow heart. The bright, smooth, waxy skins make it popular with washers and packers. Some problems have been encountered with tuber rots after harvest. This problem is mainly confined to tubers harvested and handled with immature skins.
Origin: Bred by DEPI at Toolangi and released as a home garden variety in 1986.
Maturity: Mid – early, with a growing period of about 100 days
Description: Plants - Medium upright bushy plant with dark green leaves and deep lilac flowers. Tubers - Deep-purple skin, round shape, medium/deep eyes and white flesh. Tuber number 8-10/plant, medium dormancy.
Cooking quality: An ideal potato for mashing, boiling, roasting and for salads, but it can also be used for crisp and French-fries at home.
Disease resistance: Tubers susceptible to powdery scab, and plants to wind damage and to both early and late blight.
Features: The best skin-colour is achieved immediately after harvest but careful handling is required to avoid skinning. Yields are only medium/low but the variety is excellent for domestic use in the home garden. Fertiliser and irrigation requirements are similar to most other varieties.
Origin: Bred in the USA by Luther Burbank where it was released in 1894. Introduced to Victoria in the late 70s.
Maturity: Late season
Description: Plants - Tall, erect, multi-stemmed bush with generally narrow stalks and small leaflets. Flowers are white and infrequent, berries absent. Tubers - Vary considerably in size and shape but generally long with heavily russetted skin. Very susceptible to secondary growth. Flesh is white, eyes are numerous and deep. About 8-14 tubers per plant depending on seed piece size and plant spacing; dormancy. long.
Cooking quality: Good for baking and roasting but only fair boiling. Excellent for French-fries, with good fry-colour but the long shape precludes use for crisp processing. It will process from storage and is the main variety used in Australia for both wedges and French-fries.
Disease resistance: Tolerant to both powdery scab and common scab and to blackleg and Fusarium storage rots. Susceptible to late blight and to a lesser extent early blight, most virus diseases, tuber distortion and hollow heart.
Features: Russet Burbank is the most sought after variety for French-fries processed direct from harvest but particularly from storage, but requires special management to achieve high yields and adequate size. Management factors include wide in-row spacing (to 350 mm), up to 20% more N/ha based on soil analysis and tissue sampling, even soil moisture, and preventative blight sprays.
Origin: Bred by a private breeder in Holland and released in 1959.
Maturity: Mid-late season
Description: Plants - Moderate size, upright, light green leaves, light purple flowers which fade to nearly white. Tubers - Oblong, sometimes pear-shaped, light yellow smooth skin and light yellow flesh. Large number of tubers (12-20) with medium to long dormancy.
Cooking quality: Good for boiling, remains firm and can be used for salads. Sometimes used for domestic frying.
Disease resistance: Resistant to common scab and internal disorders but susceptible to leafroll virus and late blight disease.
Features: Uneven irrigation may cause second growth and occasional hollow heart problems. Tuber size is very dependent on plant spacing which should be no less than 250 mm.
Origin: Bred in USA in 1978 from a Lenape cross and released in Victoria in 1988.
Description: Plants - Medium to large, semi-erect growth habit with large grey-green leaves, pigmented buds and light violet flowers. Tubers - Oblong to oval tubers with slightly flaky buff coloured skin, shallow eyes and white flesh. Dormancy is medium to long.
Cooking quality: Excellent for baking and crisp processing, particularly after long term storage. Fair to good boiling quality for mashed potato.
Disease resistance: Resistant to storage rots, Rhizoctonia and common scab but susceptible to powdery scab and early blight.
Features: Nitrogen fertiliser should be reduced by about 20 kg/ha on new ground and for long term storage crops. Irrigation should ensure even moisture through to senescence. Blight sprays are essential to obtain good yields.
Origin: Bred by ZPC in the Netherlands from Urgenta and Depesche.
Maturity: Mid-late season
Description: Plants - Vigorous, medium sized plants, numerous stems with red-purple flowers. Tubers - Long-oval tubers with smooth pinkish skin and pale yellow flesh and shallow eyes. Dormancy is medium to long.
Cooking quality: Excellent boiling and mashing potato suitable for salads and also roasting. Not well suited for fry processing.
Disease resistance: Good resistance to mechanical damage, drought and internal blackspot. Slight resistance to powdery scab, but susceptible to common scab, leafroll virus and second growth.
Features: A major variety for the red-skin fresh market trade. Excessive nitrogen should be avoided to limit tuber size and distortion. Irrigation should be regular to maintain adequate soil moisture and avoid second growth.
Origin: Bred in USA and released in Victoria in 1985.
Maturity: Earlier than Pontiac
Description: Plants - Small to medium bushes with purple flowers. Early growth upright, later sprawled. Tubers - Bright, smooth to lightly textured red skin, shallow eyes, white flesh and round shape.
Cooking quality: Good boiling quality similar to Pontiac. Bakes and mashes well but unsuitable for frying.
Disease resistance: Susceptible to late blight, wilt, virus X and leafroll virus, and Rhizoctonia. Slightly more resistant to powdery scab than Pontiac.
Features: Bison requires normal fertiliser and irrigation practice but seed tubers should not be cool-stored as cold as recommended for Pontiac. Young plants often lack vigour, allowing wind damage and weed invasion. Some skinning may occur if dug immature.
Origin: Imported from the Netherlands where it was bred by KL de Vries in 1905 from a cross between Munstersen and Fransen.
Maturity: Medium to early
Description: Plants - Medium to small, erect to slightly spreading plants with large rigid dark green leaves, purple pigment extending over the midribs and petioles. Buds green with blue-purple bases. White flowers appearing early - no berries. Tubers - Oval in shape, knobbly with smooth pale yellow skin and pale yellow flesh. Large number of tubers per plant with shallow eyes and medium dormancy.
Cooking quality: Excellent for domestic consumption boiled but can be fried direct from harvest. Flesh is of very fine texture (creamy) and is excellent for salads.
Disease resistance: Resistant to virus A, but susceptible to common scab, Fusarium dry rot, PVX and PVY, and highly susceptible to late blight on foliage and tubers.
Features: Requires a wider in-row spacing (250 - 350 mm) than Sebago to produce marketable sized tubers.
Origin: Introduced from the USA in 1980 and released in Victoria in 1986. Atlantic was bred in Florida from a cross between Wauseon and Lenape.
Description: Plants - Medium to large, upright with large leaves and lavender coloured flowers. Tubers - Round, with lightly netted buff coloured skin and white flesh, Eyes relatively deep and not well distributed. About 7-10 tubers per plant.
Cooking quality: Excellent crisp quality and currently the major crisp variety in Australia. Normally processed fresh although it can be stored, however dry rot and bruising can severely downgrade quality. Boiling quality is poor with tendency to disintegrate (slough).
Disease resistance: Good resistance to PCN (G. rostochiensis), PVX, common scab and Verticillium wilt.
Features: Highly recommended for crisp production, with high yields and consistent size and quality, although oversize can occur. Atlantic plants are susceptible to wind damage and tubers to, bruising, hollow heart (variable) and moisture stress. Tubers should be handled carefully to avoid Fusarium infection. Attention to blight spray programs recommended when disease conditions prevail.
This Agnote was developed by Graeme Wilson, Bio Sciences Research in April 1999. It was reviewed by Graeme Wilson, BioSciences Research in August 2010.
Published and Authorised by:
Department of Environment and Primary Industries
1 Spring Street
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