After an initial classification of Quinoa based on the main ecotypes (read post), let’s try to understand more precisely which are the main varieties of Quinoa, starting with those of Peruvian origin, taking into consideration those that are the most commercially relevant*.
It is a hybrid resulting from the crossing of Quinoa Real Boliviana and Sajama. This variety adapts to different environments: Altiplano, Andean valleys and the coastal area at an altitude ranging from 650 to 3950 m asl (generally better results are obtained at higher altitudes). It prefers semi-dry and cold climates with a rainfall between 400 mm and 560 mm. It, therefore, has a good tolerance to both frosts and drought, a good resistance to downy mildew and the vegetative cycle is short. The seed is large and low In saponins.
It is the result of a varietal improvement of a seed from the Puno area. This variety, like INIA Salcedo, adapts to different environments: Altiplano, Andean valleys and coastal area even if it offers the best results at high altitudes. It is very tolerant to cold and drought. It is characterised by the very low saponin content (almost zero) and by the high yield.
INIA 420 – Negra Collana
This variety is made up of 13 accessions, generally known as“”Quytu jiwra””. This variety, like INIA Salcedo, adapts to different environments: Altiplano between 3800 and 3900 m asl (dry and cold climate with a rainfall between 400 mm and 550 mm, maximum temperatures between 4°C and 15°C and semi-sandy soils with pH between 5.5 and 8). It also adapts to the Andean valleys and the coastal area by adapting to the pedoclimatic conditions seen for the Pasankalla.
Caratteristiche varietali NEGRA COLLANA
INIA 427 – Amarilla Sacaca
It adapts mainly to the Andean valleys between 2750 and 3650 m asl, it prefers sandy and semi-sandy soils, and has excellent resistance to frosts and drought. The vegetative cycle is quite long, considering that in some areas it can reach 210 days.
Caratteristiche varietali AMARILLA SACACA
INIA 431 – Altiplano
It is a hybrid resulting from the crossing of Quinoa Real Boliviana and Sajama selected in the Puno area and has been marketed starting from 2013. This variety, selected in the plateau (3800 and 3950 m asl), has adapted dramatically to the coastal area with excellent results in terms of yield. It is one of the varieties with the greatest ability to adapt to different rainfall levels and climates.
Caratteristiche varietali ALTIPLANO
When talking about varieties originating from Peru, Bolivia or Ecuador, it is necessary not to confuse the cultivars adapted to the coast and varieties grown at sea level. In the former cases we refer to altitudes above 500/600 m asl. The varieties grown at sea level are mainly the Chilean varieties, which we will discuss later. The varieties illustrated in this post certainly represent an excellent starting point for scientific research, but not for a use aimed at obtaining short-term productive results. It is not difficult to find seeds of INIA Salcedo or Negra Collana at very low prices, and they can represent a valid alternative for a test on small surfaces to understand the behaviour of the plant, but they will not give results in term of production in Europe.
(*) There are many other varieties, in my opinion interesting, in addition to those indicated in this post. For simplicity, I have focused only on the most common cultivars; anyone interested in further information can contact me using the form on this blog.