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Giant New Zealand Potato Determined to be a Gourd

Credit: Unsplash

Last year, New Zealand farmers Colin and Donna Craig-Brown had were tending their field when they made an incredible discovery: a 17.4 pound potato, absolutely massive in size and density. They named this fascinating horticultural specimen “Doug,” and after much encouragement, submitted its information to the Guinness Book of World Records in pursuit of the record for world’s heaviest potato.

Last week, the couple got a response from Guinness World Records with a surprising bit of information: based on a DNA test conducted on a small piece of Doug, he was not, in fact, a potato, but rather a “tuber of a type of gourd,” according to Guinness’ email.

Putting aside the fact that the couple were sure Doug was a potato, as he both looks and tastes like one, neither was quite sure as to how a gourd found its way into their soil, though they do have some theories.

“How could a bloody gourd get in my garden?” Mr. Craig-Brown wondered to the New York Times. “There was a stage where I was growing these hybridized cucumbers, right where Doug appeared,” he said. “During a hybridization process, who’s to say they didn’t crossbreed it with a gourd plant to give it tremendous disease resistance or prolific flowering?”

Despite the bizarre series of events, the Craig-Browns are still taking good care of Doug. “He’s a pretty cool character, aye,” Mr. Craig-Brown said. “He’s pretty happy sitting there in the cryogenic storage facility that we’ve got here on the farm — the deep freezer. He’s not fazed at all.”


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