potato varieties
photograph of a baked potato

potato varieties

This page explores the characteristics of some of the potato varieties grown in Australia. There are about 4000 potato varieties; in Australia about 66 of these varieties are commercially grown.

Potatoes are a source of vitamin C, high in carbohydrates and contain magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, sodium and phosphorus and also contain some vitamin A and B.

VarietyCharacteristicsCooking Rating
SaladDry BakeRoastFryMicro
Beechworth Beautyoblong - longpinkishoff-white************
Bintjeoblong - longcreamlight yellow***********
Bismarkoval-longcreamy whitewhite********-
Brownellroundbrownish pinkwhite*******-
Desireeroundpinkpale yellow*********-**
King Edwardoval-longwhite-pinkwhite-pink**-*******
Kipflercigaryellowlight yellow********-
Nicolaoblong-longrich yellowyellow**********
Pink Eyeroundcream-mauvecream-yellow********
Pink Fir Applecigarlight pinkcream-*******
Purple Congocigarpurplepurple******
Red Starround-ovalred yellow**************
Royal Blueoblongpurpledark yellow**-*********
Russet Burbanklongrussetwhite*-*********
Toolangi Delightroundpurplewhite************
Up to Dateoval-flatcreampale yellow********-

Beechworth Beauty

Found in a backyard in Beechworth a few years ago, debate still rages about its origins: is it an ancient variety left over from the gold rush or a new hybrid? With its pinkish skin and off-white nutty flesh, this is an all-rounder. Boil, mash, bake, roast.


This Dutch variety has been around since 1911. Small to medium sized round tubers with golden skin and slightly waxy yellow flesh. A true waxy yellow potato that is very versatile to cook with. One of the most commonly grown potatoes in Europe. Use in a salad but dress the potatoes while still warm and mix well, allowing the flesh to break up.


Bismark was introduced to Australia in about 1880 at which time it was known as Prince Bismarck. An attractive strain was isolated by a grower in 1928 which was known as Silverskin Bismarck. Over time Silverskin was dropped and Bismarck became Bismark. Its country of origin is thought to be Germany. Bismark is an early maturing cultivar with long, oval creamy white tubers and flesh with purple eyes.

It is excellent for boiling as an immature ~ potato, and is suitable for chipping when mature, but is not a good baking type. Plants are of medium height, open and erect. The leaves are a dull medium green colour, of medium size, and its flowers are light purple. Misshapen tubers tend to be produced if soil moisture fluctuates during the growing season. It is also susceptible to powdery scab.


Brownell is a medium to late maturing cultivar with round, brownish-pink tubers, medium to deep eyes, and white flesh. The tubers are excellent for boiling, but baking quality is somewhat inferior. Chipping quality is satisfactory, but deteriorates later in the season. The plants are tall, vigorous and upright with medium sized leaves. Flowers are red-purple with white tips. The tubers are subject to hollow heart under certain growing conditions, second growth, cracking and powdery scab, but only moderately susceptible to other potato diseases. Brownells are noted for their resistance to bruising which helps to explain the high tonnages that used to be shipped to the Sydney market in particular, during the late 1930s and 1940s. They originate from the U.S.A. and are thought to have been released in about 1881, most probably under the name Adirondack, with an Australian selection (circa 1908-1912) given the name Brownell.


This is usually sold as a "washed" potato in your supermarket. It's a locally bred all-rounder, although many are from South Australia's sandy Riverland soils and can lack flavour.

This Australian cultivar is a medium to late maturing type, with attractive, white, round to oval tubers and shallow eyes. There is often a blue blush at the rose end. The tubers can be used for boiling, chipping and baking. The cultivar is susceptible to powdery scab. long. Plants are tall and erect with rather small, dark to light green leaves. Its flowers are purple with white-tipped petals. It originates from the UK and was released in 1902.


A specialty potato a decade ago, desirees are now ubiquitous. Originally from the Netherlands, they have a smooth, red skin and yellow, slightly waxy flesh. Best for boiling but they also make decent roast taters and firm gnocchi.


This is an early mid-season type with smooth, cream-white tubers of oval to round shape, white flesh and shallow eyes. It is an excellent all-purpose potato which can be processed, boiled, baked, chipped or crisped. It is highly susceptible to powdery scab and greening when exposed to light. The plants are erect with medium green foliage, medium to large leaves and white flowers. The cultivar was bred by the USA Department of Agriculture and released in 1948.

King Edward

King Edward is an all-purpose fresh market cultivar. It can be used for boiling, chipping and baking. It is a mid to late season type, with tubers having a white skin with pink blotches, white-cream flesh and shallows eyes. The tubers are oval and can be long. Plants are tall and erect with rather small, dark to light green leaves. Its flowers are purple with white-tipped petals. It originates from the United Kingdom and was released in 1902.

Oval/pear-shaped with cream-and-pink skin and floury but nutty flesh that makes a fluffy baked potato.


Finger-like potatoes with creamy, waxy flesh so don't mash. Perfect for potato salad as they are dry and need lots of dressing. Boil or bake, then dress with mayo, horseradish and Dijon mustard.

Gourmet cigar shaped variety with yellow skin and flesh. This is a late season variety which is excellent for use in salads and also good for baking or boiling. Plant is spreading with multiple stems with dull green smallish leaves. Flowers are mauve with white tips.


Firm buttery texture. It makes great potato and leek soup by sauteing finely diced leeks and finely sliced Nicola, adding hot chicken stock and half a cinnamon quill. Cook or boil for 30 minutes. Add oil, smash, smother with butter and herbs and bake at 200 for 20 minutes.

Oblong shaped tuber with rich yellow skin and yellow flesh. They are excellent in salads and also good for baking or boiling. Plant is slightly spreading with smallish leaves. Mature leaves have wavy edge. Flowers are white.

Pink eye

Creamy yellow flesh with a buttery, slightly waxy texture and chestnut flavour. A good accompaniment with lamb, game or duck. Bake whole, split and top with finely diced fried pancetta and parmesan cheese.

Pink Eye potatoes are an early maturing type grown mainly in the south of the State. The tubers are creamy-white, blotched with purple and tend to be round with a depression in the stolen end. The eyes are deep and pink, whilst the flesh is yellow with a tendency to be waxy. They are mainly for baking and for boiling as "new" potatoes. The cultivar is susceptible to powdery scab. Plants are tall, vigorous, open and erect, with small to medium dark green leaves. Flowers are purple, and the plant often produces many berries. The country of origin and year of release is not known, being recorded only as an Australian selection, introduced in the 1944 season.

Pink fir apple

A 150-year-old British variety with a pinkish skin renowned for growing into amusing shapes. Use as kipfler but remember it is not as dry. Parboil small and whole, season and drop into the hot fat next to roasting pork.


Pontiac is a mid-season type with attractive, round, red-skinned tubers with deep eyes. They look good when washed. The flesh is white and has a somewhat soapy consistency when boiled. They can be used for boiling, chipping and baking. The cultivar is susceptible to powdery scab. The plant has large grey-green leaves, and light purple flowers. It originates from the U.S.A. and was released in 1938.

Purple Congo

Natural pigments called anthocyans make the skin and flesh purple. Some find it a little too mealy, so consider slathering it in dressing or mixing with flour to make novel coloured gnocchi.

Russet Burbank

Russet Burbank is a multi-purpose potato suitable for both the fresh market and processing, being excellent for baking and French fry production. It is a late maturing type with highly russetted long cylindrical tubers. The eyes are shallow and numerous but not well distributed at the stolen end.

It is subject to tuber malformation particularly if planted at low density and given water erratically, and to hollow heart when grown in cold, wet seasons. It is susceptible to common scab and eelworm.

The plants are large and spreading with noticeably light green leaves, and white flowers. This American cultivar is reputed to have come from one of a number of seedlings of the Early Rose cultivar growing in the garden of Luther Burbank, the noted American horticulturist. About 1906 a russetted mutant was found, named Russet Burbank, and released circa 1908.

Grate and make into potato fritters or rostis.


Sebago is a popular all purpose fresh market cultivar on the mainland. It is suited to processing and all culinary uses. It is a mid-season type producing creamy skinned, shallow-eyed, oval tubers, with white flesh. It has a tendency to be susceptible to storage rots. The plants are tall and upright with medium to large leaves, and lilac flowers.


This is a useful all-purpose mid season type with bright pink tubers, fairly shallow red eyes and white flesh. It can be used for boiling, chipping and baking. Uniform tuber size and general attractiveness of the tubers, especially when washed, makes this potato visually acceptable. However it has a tendency to break up during boiling and produce dark coloured chips and baked potatoes. It is highly susceptible to powdery scab. Plants are large, erect and vigorous with fairly dense, light green, medium sized leaves. Flowers are pale purple with paler tips. The cultivar resulted from a co-operative Australian selection program begun by the Tasmanian and Victorian Departments of Agriculture in 1961. It was named after Abel Tasman and released in 1974.

Toolangi delight

Locally developed and celebrating its 22nd birthday. This is one of the best potatoes around with a very fine skin that doesn't need peeling. Perfect for gnocchi, dumplings or a buttery mash over a shepherd's pie.

Up To Date

Up To Dates are relatively popular all-purpose potatoes. They have a very high reputation for their baking qualities and are also used for boiling and chipping. It is a mid-season type with flat oval tubers with a creamy white skin and cream flesh. The plants are tall and vigorous with large medium green leaves, and light red-purple flowers. Up To Date a Scottish cultivar, which was released in 1894.

Information supplied by G & B Dobson, Alexandra and Michael Mow, Stall 108 Prahran Market, 0417 382 354 and derived from the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries and Water website.