A contender for the world’s largest potato could have taken the record if it was only really a potato. DNA testing showed that the supposed potato was actually something of a mix between a tuber and gourd.
The supposed potato was unearthed in a garden by a couple from Hamilton, New Zealand in August 2021. Colin Craig-Brown first noticed the crop while weeding his garden with a hoe. He heard an unusual clunk after striking the ground and decided to dig out what he later assumed to be a giant potato.
The couple named their discovery as Doug, which is taken from the word “dug.” News about Doug made its way in social media so the friends and family of the couple encouraged them to submit Doug for the Guinness World Records.
Doug weighed at 7.8kg, which was supposedly enough to take the record from the title holder, a 4.98kg potato from the UK.
After months of paperwork, the couple was disappointed to hear that the Guiness disqualified their application. Guinness found through DNA testing that Doug is not actually a potato but a “tuber of a type of gourd”.
Tubers are enlarged underground structures that contain nutrients needed for a plant’s growth. Its most common example is the potato. Gourds, which are unrelated to tubers, are a type of fruit that include pumpkins and cucumbers.
Chris Claridge, a horticulturist who assisted in the DNA testing, described the tuber-gourd as a scar tissue similar to the lumps seen on trees after a branch is removed. He suspected that the tuber-gourd could have grown to its size due to an infection.
As to how the tuber-gourd grew in the couple’s garden, Colin assumed that this might have been possible because he used to grow hybrid cucumbers in their garden.