Augmented descriptions of growth and development stages of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) grown from different types of planting material

Kacheyo, Olivia Cynthia; Dijk, Luuk C.M. van; Vries, Michiel Erik de; Struik, Paul Christiaan


The recent invention of hybrid breeding technology for potato has led to an increased interest in hybrid potato R&D. Hybrid true potato seeds (TPS) are used to produce planting materials such as transplants and seedling tubers, but can also be used for direct seeding of seed or ware crops. Transplants and seedling tubers can be used to produce seed tubers or ware tubers. The rise in R&D in hybrid breeding creates the need for phenological scales of growth and development of plants produced by the various planting material types of hybrid-TPS. The BBCH (Biologische Bundesanstalt, Bundessortenamt and CHemical Industry) scale is one of the phenological scales developed for the description of the growth and development stages of plants. In 1993, a BBCH scale with descriptions for potato plants was released. The original BBCH scale gave standardised descriptions for TPS- and tuber-grown plants. Differences in the morphology of plants originating from the different planting materials in terms of types of branches and differences in below-ground growth and development were not included. Moreover, for reproductive growth stages, crucial for hybrid breeding, the original scale is incomplete as it does not carefully take the complex sympodial branching into account. Methods of describing growth of tubers and berries are complex and impossible to use when final tuber mass or berry size is unknown. The current paper augments the original BBCH scale, while retaining its structure and logic. It provides alternative and comprehensive descriptions of growth stages suitable for potato plants grown from different types of planting materials, and for all end uses of these plants. The proposed scale is detailed enough for research and breeding but still general enough for agricultural use.