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Bright red tomato and cross section02.jpg
Cross-section and intact view of a hothouse tomato grown in a greenhouse
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Solanum
S. lycopersicum
Binomial name
Solanum lycopersicum
Synonyms [1]

Lycopersicon lycopersicum(L.) H. Karst.
Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.


The tomato is the edible, often red, berry of the plant Solanum lycopersicum, [2] [1] commonly known as a tomato plant. The species originated in western South America. [2] [3] The Nahuatl (Aztec language) word tomatl gave rise to the Spanish word tomate, from which the English word tomato derived. [3] [4] Its use as a cultivated food may have originated with the indigenous peoples of Mexico. [2] [5] The Spanish encountered the tomato from their contact with the Aztec during the Spanish colonization of the Americas and brought it to Europe. From there, the tomato was introduced to other parts of the European-colonized world during the 16th century. [2]

Berry (botany) botanical fruit with fleshy pericarp, containing one or many seeds

In botany, a berry is a fleshy fruit without a stone produced from a single flower containing one ovary. Berries so defined include grapes, currants, and tomatoes, as well as cucumbers, eggplants (aubergines) and bananas, but exclude certain fruits commonly called berries, such as strawberries and raspberries. The berry is the most common type of fleshy fruit in which the entire outer layer of the ovary wall ripens into a potentially edible "pericarp". Berries may be formed from one or more carpels from the same flower. The seeds are usually embedded in the fleshy interior of the ovary, but there are some non-fleshy exceptions, such as peppers, with air rather than pulp around their seeds.

South America A continent in the Western Hemisphere, and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere

South America is a continent in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It may also be considered a subcontinent of the Americas, which is how it is viewed in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions of the Americas. The reference to South America instead of other regions has increased in the last decades due to changing geopolitical dynamics.

Nahuatl, known historically as Aztec, is a language or group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Varieties of Nahuatl are spoken by about 1.7 million Nahua peoples, most of whom live in central Mexico.

The tomato is consumed in diverse ways, raw or cooked, in many dishes, sauces, salads, and drinks. While tomatoes are fruits botanically classified as berries they are commonly used as a vegetable ingredient or side dish. [3]

Fruit part of a flowering plant

In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants formed from the ovary after flowering.

Vegetable edible plant or part of a plant, involved in cooking (opposed to Q3314483)

Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. The original meaning is still commonly used and is applied to plants collectively to refer to all edible plant matter, including the flowers, fruits, stems, leaves, roots, and seeds. The alternate definition of the term vegetable is applied somewhat arbitrarily, often by culinary and cultural tradition. It may exclude foods derived from some plants that are fruits, nuts, and cereal grains, but include fruits from others such as tomatoes and courgettes and seeds such as pulses.

Side dish serving of food accompanying the main course

A side dish, sometimes referred to as a side order, side item, or simply a side, is a food item that accompanies the entrée or main course at a meal.

Numerous varieties of the tomato plant are widely grown in temperate climates across the world, with greenhouses allowing for the production of tomatoes throughout all seasons of the year. Tomato plants typically grow to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height. They are vines that have a weak stem that sprawls and typically needs support. [2] Indeterminate tomato plants are perennials in their native habitat, but are cultivated as annuals. Determinate, or bush, plants are annuals that stop growing at a certain height and produce a crop all at once. The size of the tomato varies according to the cultivar, with a range of 0.5–4 inches (1.3–10.2 cm) in width. [2]

Temperate climate hovers around the same temperature

In geography, the temperate or tepid climates of Earth occur in the middle latitudes, which span between the tropics and the polar regions of Earth. These zones generally have wider temperature ranges throughout the year and more distinct seasonal changes compared to tropical climates, where such variations are often small. They typically feature four distinct seasons, Summer the warmest, Autumn the transitioning season to Winter, the colder season, and Spring the transitioning season from winter back into summer. On the northern hemisphere the year starts with winter, transitions in the first halfyear through spring into summer which is in mid-year, then at the second halfyear through autumn into winter at year-end. On the southern hemisphere seasons are swapped with summer in between years and winter in mid-year.

Greenhouse building in which plants are grown

A greenhouse is a structure with walls and roof made chiefly of transparent material, such as glass, in which plants requiring regulated climatic conditions are grown. These structures range in size from small sheds to industrial-sized buildings. A miniature greenhouse is known as a cold frame. The interior of a greenhouse exposed to sunlight becomes significantly warmer than the external ambient temperature, protecting its contents in cold weather.

Plant stem One of two main structural axes of a vascular plant (together with the root), that supports leaves, flowers and fruits, transports fluids between the roots and the shoots in the xylem and phloem, stores nutrients and produces new living tissue

A stem is one of two main structural axes of a vascular plant, the other being the root. The stem is normally divided into nodes and internodes:


Tomatoes ttmaattaalu (2).jpg


The word "tomato" comes from the Spanish tomate, which in turn comes from the Nahuatl word tomatl [ˈtomat͡ɬ] , meaning "the swelling fruit". [4] The native Mexican tomatillo is tomate (in Nahuatl: tomātl Loudspeaker.svg pronunciation  , meaning "fat water" or "fat thing"). [6] When Aztecs started to cultivate the Andean fruit to be larger, sweeter, and red, they called the new species xitomatl (or jitomates) (pronounced  [ʃiːˈtomatɬ] ), [2] ("plump with navel" or "fat water with navel"). The scientific species epithet lycopersicum is interpreted literally from Latin in the 1753 book, Species Plantarum , as "wolfpeach", where wolf is from lyco and peach is from persicum.

Tomatillo species of plant

The tomatillo, also known as the Mexican husk tomato, is a plant of the nightshade family bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name. Tomatillos originated in Mexico and were cultivated in the pre-Columbian era. A staple of Mexican cuisine, they are eaten raw or cooked in a variety of dishes, particularly salsa verde.

Andes Mountain range in South America

The Andes or Andean Mountains are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America. This range is about 7,000 km (4,300 mi) long, about 200 to 700 km wide, and of an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.


The usual pronunciations of "tomato" are /təˈmt/ (usual in American English) and /təˈmɑːt/ (usual in British English). [7] The word's dual pronunciations were immortalized in Ira and George Gershwin's 1937 song "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" ("You like /pəˈtt/ and I like /pəˈtɑːt/ / You like /təˈmt/ and I like /təˈmɑːt/ ") and have become a symbol for nitpicking pronunciation disputes.[ citation needed ] In this capacity, it has even become an American and British slang term: saying " /təˈmttəˈmɑːt/ " when presented with two choices can mean "What's the difference?" or "It's all the same to me".[ citation needed ]

American English Set of dialects of the English language spoken in the United States

American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. It is considered one of the most influential dialects of English globally, including on other varieties of English.

British English is the standard dialect of English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".

Free variation in linguistics is the phenomenon of two sounds or forms appearing in the same environment without a change in meaning and without being considered incorrect by native speakers.

Fruit versus vegetable

Tomatoes are considered a fruit or vegetable depending on context. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, tomatoes are a fruit labeled in grocery stores as a vegetable due to (the taste) and nutritional purposes. Farmer's Market I.jpg
Tomatoes are considered a fruit or vegetable depending on context. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, tomatoes are a fruit labeled in grocery stores as a vegetable due to (the taste) and nutritional purposes.
Tomatoes plain and sliced Tomatoes plain and sliced.jpg
Tomatoes plain and sliced

Botanically, a tomato is a fruit—a berry, consisting of the ovary, together with its seeds, of a flowering plant. However, the tomato is considered a "culinary vegetable" because it has a much lower sugar content than culinary fruits; it is typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, rather than as a dessert. Tomatoes are not the only food source with this ambiguity; bell peppers, cucumbers, green beans, eggplants, avocados, and squashes of all kinds (such as zucchini and pumpkins) are all botanically fruit, yet cooked as vegetables. This has led to legal dispute in the United States. In 1887, U.S. tariff laws that imposed a duty on vegetables, but not on fruit, caused the tomato's status to become a matter of legal importance. The U.S. Supreme Court settled this controversy on May 10, 1893, by declaring that the tomato is a vegetable, based on the popular definition that classifies vegetables by use—they are generally served with dinner and not dessert ( Nix v. Hedden (149 U.S. 304)). The holding of this case applies only to the interpretation of the Tariff of 1883, and the court did not purport to reclassify the tomato for botanical or other purposes.

Flowering plant clade of flowering plants (in APG I-III)

The flowering plants, also known as angiosperms, Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants, with 64 orders, 416 families, approximately 13,164 known genera and c. 369,000 known species. Like gymnosperms, angiosperms are seed-producing plants. However, they are distinguished from gymnosperms by characteristics including flowers, endosperm within the seeds, and the production of fruits that contain the seeds. Etymologically, angiosperm means a plant that produces seeds within an enclosure; in other words, a fruiting plant. The term comes from the Greek words angeion and sperma ("seed").

Main course featured or primary dish in a meal consisting of several courses

The main course is the featured or primary dish in a meal consisting of several courses. It usually follows the entrée ("entry") course.

Dessert A course that concludes a meal; usually sweet

Dessert is a course that concludes a meal. The course usually consists of sweet foods, such as confections dishes or fruit, and possibly a beverage such as dessert wine or liqueur, however in the United States it may include coffee, cheeses, nuts, or other savory items regarded as a separate course elsewhere. In some parts of the world, such as much of central and western Africa, and most parts of China, there is no tradition of a dessert course to conclude a meal.



Tomato flower Flor tomaca 057.jpg
Tomato flower
An unripe tomato growing on the vine Green Tomato.jpg
An unripe tomato growing on the vine

Tomato plants are vines, initially decumbent, typically growing 180 cm (6 ft) or more above the ground if supported, although erect bush varieties have been bred, generally 100 cm (3 ft) tall or shorter. Indeterminate types are "tender" perennials, dying annually in temperate climates (they are originally native to tropical highlands), although they can live up to three years in a greenhouse in some cases. Determinate types are annual in all climates.[ citation needed ]

Tomato plants are dicots, and grow as a series of branching stems, with a terminal bud at the tip that does the actual growing. When that tip eventually stops growing, whether because of pruning or flowering, lateral buds take over and grow into other, fully functional, vines. [8]

Tomato vines are typically pubescent, meaning covered with fine short hairs. These hairs facilitate the vining process, turning into roots wherever the plant is in contact with the ground and moisture, especially if the vine's connection to its original root has been damaged or severed.[ citation needed ]

Most tomato plants have compound leaves, and are called regular leaf (RL) plants, but some cultivars have simple leaves known as potato leaf (PL) style because of their resemblance to that particular relative. Of RL plants, there are variations, such as rugose leaves, which are deeply grooved, and variegated, angora leaves, which have additional colors where a genetic mutation causes chlorophyll to be excluded from some portions of the leaves. [9]

The leaves are 10–25 cm (4–10 in) long, odd pinnate, with five to 9 leaflets on petioles, [10] each leaflet up to 8 cm (3 in) long, with a serrated margin; both the stem and leaves are densely glandular-hairy.[ citation needed ]

Their flowers, appearing on the apical meristem, have the anthers fused along the edges, forming a column surrounding the pistil's style. Flowers in domestic cultivars can be self-fertilizing. The flowers are 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in) across, yellow, with five pointed lobes on the corolla; they are borne in a cyme of three to 12 together.[ citation needed ]

Tomato fruit is classified as a berry. As a true fruit, it develops from the ovary of the plant after fertilization, its flesh comprising the pericarp walls. The fruit contains hollow spaces full of seeds and moisture, called locular cavities. These vary, among cultivated species, according to type. Some smaller varieties have two cavities, globe-shaped varieties typically have three to five, beefsteak tomatoes have a great number of smaller cavities, while paste tomatoes have very few, very small cavities.[ citation needed ]

For propagation, the seeds need to come from a mature fruit, and be dried or fermented before germination.[ citation needed ]


In 1753, Linnaeus placed the tomato in the genus Solanum (alongside the potato) as Solanum lycopersicum. In 1768, Philip Miller moved it to its own genus, naming it Lycopersicon esculentum. [11] This name came into wide use, but was technically in breach of the plant naming rules because Linnaeus's species name lycopersicum still had priority. Although the name Lycopersicum lycopersicum was suggested by Karsten (1888), this is not used because it violates the International Code of Nomenclature [12] barring the use of tautonyms in botanical nomenclature. The corrected name Lycopersicon lycopersicum (Nicolson 1974) was technically valid, since Miller's genus name and Linnaeus's species name differ in exact spelling, but since Lycopersicon esculentum has become so well known, it was officially listed as a nomen conservandum in 1983, and would be the correct name for the tomato in classifications which do not place the tomato in the genus Solanum.

Genetic evidence has now shown that Linnaeus was correct to put the tomato in the genus Solanum, making Solanum lycopersicum the correct name. [1] [13] Both names, however, will probably be found in the literature for some time. Two of the major reasons for considering the genera separate are the leaf structure (tomato leaves are markedly different from any other Solanum), and the biochemistry (many of the alkaloids common to other Solanum species are conspicuously absent in the tomato). On the other hand, hybrids of tomato and diploid potato can be created in the lab by somatic fusion, and are partially fertile, [14] providing evidence of the close relationship between these species.

Genetic modification

Tomatoes that have been modified using genetic engineering have been developed, and although none are commercially available now, they have been in the past. The first commercially available genetically modified food was a variety of tomato named the Flavr Savr, which was engineered to have a longer shelf life. [15] Scientists are continuing to develop tomatoes with new traits not found in natural crops, such as increased resistance to pests or environmental stresses. Other projects aim to enrich tomatoes with substances that may offer health benefits or provide better nutrition.

Research on tomatoes Tomato laboratory research.jpg
Research on tomatoes

An international consortium of researchers from 10 countries, among them researchers from the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, began sequencing the tomato genome in 2004, and is creating a database of genomic sequences and information on the tomato and related plants. [16] [17] A prerelease version of the genome was made available in December 2009. [18] The genomes of its mitochondria and chloroplasts are also being sequenced as part of the project. The complete genome for the cultivar Heinz 1706 was published on 31 May 2012 in Nature . [19] Since many other fruits, like strawberries, apples, melons, and bananas share the same characteristics and genes, researchers stated the published genome could help to improve food quality, food security and reduce costs of all of these fruits. [20]


The Tomato Genetic Resource Center, Germplasm Resources Information Network, AVRDC, and numerous seed banks around the world store seed representing genetic variations of value to modern agriculture. These seed stocks are available for legitimate breeding and research efforts. While individual breeding efforts can produce useful results, the bulk of tomato breeding work is at universities and major agriculture-related corporations. These efforts have resulted in significant regionally adapted breeding lines and hybrids, such as the Mountain series from North Carolina. Corporations including Heinz, Monsanto, BHNSeed, and Bejoseed have breeding programs that attempt to improve production, size, shape, color, flavor, disease tolerance, pest tolerance, nutritional value, and numerous other traits.[ citation needed ]


Solanum lycopersicum var. lycopersicum. Sheet from the oldest tomato collection of Europe, 1542-1544. Naturalis Leiden. Naturalis Biodiversity Center - Solanum lycopersicum var. lycopersicum - old tomato herbarium sheet.jpg
Solanum lycopersicum var. lycopersicum. Sheet from the oldest tomato collection of Europe, 1542–1544. Naturalis Leiden.

The tomato is native to western South America. [2] Wild versions were small, like cherry tomatoes, and most likely yellow rather than red. [2] The Spanish first introduced tomatoes to Europe, where they became used in Spanish and Italian food. The French and northern Europeans erroneously thought them to be poisonous because they are a member of the deadly nightshade family. [3] This was exacerbated by the interaction of the tomato's acidic juice with pewter plates. [21] The leaves and immature fruit contains tomatine, which in large quantities would be toxic. However, the ripe fruit contains no tomatine. [22]


Aztecs and other peoples in Mesoamerica used the fruit in their cooking. The exact date of domestication is unknown; by 500 BC, it was already being cultivated in southern Mexico and probably other areas. [23] :13 The Pueblo people are thought to have believed that those who witnessed the ingestion of tomato seeds were blessed with powers of divination. [24] The large, lumpy variety of tomato, a mutation from a smoother, smaller fruit, originated in Mesoamerica, and may be the direct ancestor of some modern cultivated tomatoes. [23] :15

Spanish distribution

Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés may have been the first to transfer the small yellow tomato to Europe after he captured the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, in 1521, although Christopher Columbus may have taken them back as early as 1493. The earliest discussion of the tomato in European literature appeared in a herbal written in 1544 by Pietro Andrea Mattioli, an Italian physician and botanist, who suggested that a new type of eggplant had been brought to Italy that was blood red or golden color when mature and could be divided into segments and eaten like an eggplant—that is, cooked and seasoned with salt, black pepper, and oil. It was not until ten years later that tomatoes were named in print by Mattioli as pomi d'oro, or "golden apples". [23] :13

After the Spanish colonization of the Americas, the Spanish distributed the tomato throughout their colonies in the Caribbean. They also took it to the Philippines, from where it spread to southeast Asia and then the entire Asian continent. The Spanish also brought the tomato to Europe. It grew easily in Mediterranean climates, and cultivation began in the 1540s. It was probably eaten shortly after it was introduced, and was certainly being used as food by the early 17th century in Spain.


The recorded history of tomatoes in Italy dates back to at least 31 October 1548, when the house steward of Cosimo de' Medici, the grand duke of Tuscany, wrote to the Medici private secretary informing him that the basket of tomatoes sent from the grand duke's Florentine estate at Torre del Gallo "had arrived safely".[ citation needed ] Tomatoes were grown mainly as ornamentals early on after their arrival in Italy. For example, the Florentine aristocrat Giovanvettorio Soderini wrote how they "were to be sought only for their beauty", and were grown only in gardens or flower beds. The tomato's ability to mutate and create new and different varieties helped contribute to its success and spread throughout Italy. However, even in areas where the climate supported growing tomatoes, their habit of growing to the ground suggested low status. They were not adopted as a staple of the peasant population because they were not as filling as other fruits already available. Additionally, both toxic and inedible varieties discouraged many people from attempting to consume or prepare any other varieties. [25] In certain areas of Italy, such as Florence, the fruit was used solely as a tabletop decoration, until it was incorporated into the local cuisine in the late 17th or early 18th century. The earliest discovered cookbook with tomato recipes was published in Naples in 1692, though the author had apparently obtained these recipes from Spanish sources. [23] :17

Unique varieties were developed over the next several hundred years for uses such as dried tomatoes, sauce tomatoes, pizza tomatoes, and tomatoes for long-term storage. These varieties are usually known for their place of origin as much as by a variety name. For example, Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio is the "hanging tomato of Vesuvius" or the Pomodoro di Pachino and Pomodorino di Manduria. Five different varieties have traditionally been used to make these "hanging" tomatoes. They are Fiaschella, Lampadina, Patanara, Principe Borghese, and Re Umberto. Other tomatoes that originated in Italy include San Marzano, Borgo Cellano, Christopher Columbus, Costoluto Genovese, and Italian Pear. These tomatoes are characterized by a relatively intense flavor compared to varieties typically grown elsewhere.[ citation needed ]


Tomatoes for sale in a UK supermarket Tomatoes for sale in a UK supermarket 2013.jpg
Tomatoes for sale in a UK supermarket

Tomatoes were not grown in England until the 1590s. [23] :17 One of the earliest cultivators was John Gerard, a barber-surgeon. [23] :17 Gerard's Herbal, published in 1597, and largely plagiarized from continental sources, [23] :17 is also one of the earliest discussions of the tomato in England. Gerard knew the tomato was eaten in Spain and Italy. [23] :17 Nonetheless, he believed it was poisonous [23] :17 (in fact, the plant and raw fruit do have low levels of tomatine, but are not generally dangerous; see below). Gerard's views were influential, and the tomato was considered unfit for eating (though not necessarily poisonous) for many years in Britain and its North American colonies. [23] :17

However, by the mid-18th century, tomatoes were widely eaten in Britain, and before the end of that century, the Encyclopædia Britannica stated the tomato was "in daily use" in soups, broths, and as a garnish. They were not part of the average person's diet, and though by 1820 they were described as "to be seen in great abundance in all our vegetable markets" and to be "used by all our best cooks", reference was made to their cultivation in gardens still "for the singularity of their appearance", while their use in cooking was associated with exotic Italian or Jewish cuisine. [26]

Middle East and North Africa

The tomato was introduced to cultivation in the Middle East by John Barker, British consul in Aleppo circa 1799 to 1825. [27] [28] Nineteenth century descriptions of its consumption are uniformly as an ingredient in a cooked dish. In 1881, it is described as only eaten in the region "within the last forty years". [29] Today, the tomato is a critical and ubiquitous part of Middle Eastern cuisine, served fresh in salads (e.g., Arab salad, Israeli salad, Shirazi salad and Turkish salad), grilled with kebabs and other dishes, made into sauces, and so on.

North America

A variety of small tomatoes NRCSHI07018 - Hawaii (716072)(NRCS Photo Gallery).jpg
A variety of small tomatoes

The earliest reference to tomatoes being grown in British North America is from 1710, when herbalist William Salmon reported seeing them in what is today South Carolina. [23] :25 They may have been introduced from the Caribbean. By the mid-18th century, they were cultivated on some Carolina plantations, and probably in other parts of the Southeast as well. Possibly, some people continued to think tomatoes were poisonous at this time; and in general, they were grown more as ornamental plants than as food. Thomas Jefferson, who ate tomatoes in Paris, sent some seeds back to America. [23] :28

Early tomato breeders included Henry Tilden in Iowa and a Dr. Hand in Baltimore. [30]

Alexander W. Livingston receives much credit for developing numerous varieties of tomato for both home and commercial gardeners. [31] The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 1937 yearbook declared that "half of the major varieties were a result of the abilities of the Livingstons to evaluate and perpetuate superior material in the tomato." Livingston's first breed of tomato, the Paragon, was introduced in 1870. In 1875, he introduced the Acme, which was said to be involved in the parentage of most of the tomatoes introduced by him and his competitors for the next twenty-five years. [32] [33]

When Livingston began his attempts to develop the tomato as a commercial crop, his aim had been to grow tomatoes smooth in contour, uniform in size, and sweet in flavor. In 1870, Livingston introduced the Paragon, and tomato culture soon became a great enterprise in the county. He eventually developed over seventeen different varieties of the tomato plant. [32] Today, the crop is grown in every state in the Union. [34]

Because of the long growing season needed for this heat-loving crop, several states in the US Sun Belt became major tomato-producers, particularly Florida and California. In California, tomatoes are grown under irrigation for both the fresh fruit market and for canning and processing. The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) became a major center for research on the tomato. The C.M. Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center at UC Davis is a gene bank of wild relatives, monogenic mutants and miscellaneous genetic stocks of tomato. [35] The Center is named for the late Dr. Charles M. Rick, a pioneer in tomato genetics research. [36] Research on processing tomatoes is also conducted by the California Tomato Research Institute in Escalon, California. [37]

In California, growers have used a method of cultivation called dry-farming, especially with Early Girl tomatoes. This technique encourages the plant to send roots deep to find existing moisture in soil that retains moisture, such as clayey soil.

Modern commercial varieties

Tomatoes that have not ripened uniformly End of Summer Tomatoes.jpg
Tomatoes that have not ripened uniformly

The poor taste and lack of sugar in modern garden and commercial tomato varieties resulted from breeding tomatoes to ripen uniformly red. This change occurred after discovery of a mutant "u" phenotype in the mid 20th century that ripened "u"niformly. This was widely cross-bred to produce red fruit without the typical green ring around the stem on uncross-bred varieties. Prior to general introduction of this trait, most tomatoes produced more sugar during ripening, and were sweeter and more flavorful. [38] [39]

Evidence has been found that 10−20% of the total carbon fixed in the fruit can be produced by photosynthesis in the developing fruit of the normal U phenotype. The u genetic mutation encodes a factor that produces defective chloroplasts with lower density in developing fruit, resulting in a lighter green colour of unripe fruit, and repression of sugars accumulation in the resulting ripe fruit by 10−15%. Perhaps more important than their role in photosynthesis, the fruit chloroplasts are remodelled during ripening into chlorophyll-free chromoplasts that synthesize and accumulate lycopene, β-carotene, and other metabolites that are sensory and nutritional assets of the ripe fruit. The potent chloroplasts in the dark-green shoulders of the U phenotype are beneficial here, but have the disadvantage of leaving green shoulders near the stems of the ripe fruit, and even cracked yellow shoulders, apparently because of oxidative stress due to overload of the photosynthetic chain in direct sunlight at high temperatures. Hence genetic design of a commercial variety that combines the advantages of types u and U requires fine tuning, but may be feasible. [40]


Tomato plants 7 days after planting Germinating tomatos.jpg
Tomato plants 7 days after planting
Tomato seedlings growing indoors Tomatoseedlings.jpg
Tomato seedlings growing indoors
27 days after planting Tomato 27 days from planting seeds.jpg
27 days after planting
52-day-old plant, first fruits Tomato fruit and flowers at day 52.jpg
52-day-old plant, first fruits
Green tomatoes nestled on the vine Green Tomatoes.jpg
Green tomatoes nestled on the vine
Tomatoes being collected from the field, Maharashtra, India Collecting Tomatoes from field.jpg
Tomatoes being collected from the field, Maharashtra, India

The tomato is grown worldwide for its edible fruits, with thousands of cultivars. [41] A fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 5-10-10 is often sold as tomato fertilizer or vegetable fertilizer, although manure and compost are also used.[ citation needed ]


In 2016, world production of tomatoes was 177 million tonnes, with China accounting for 32% of the total, followed by the European Union, India, the United States, and Turkey as the major producers (table). [42] Global tomato exports were valued at 85 billion US dollars in 2016. [42]

millions of tonnes
1Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
2Flag of Europe.svg  European Union
3Flag of India.svg  India
4Flag of the United States.svg  United States
5Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey
6Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt
Source: FAOSTAT, United Nations [42]


There are around 7,500 tomato varieties grown for various purposes[ citation needed ] having been selected with varying fruit types, and for optimum growth in differing growing conditions.

Tomato varieties can be divided into categories based on shape and size.[ citation needed ]

Tomatoes are also classified as determinate or indeterminate. Determinate, or bush, types bear a full crop all at once and top off at a specific height; they are often good choices for container growing. Determinate types are preferred by commercial growers who wish to harvest a whole field at one time, or home growers interested in canning. Indeterminate varieties develop into vines that never top off and continue producing until killed by frost. They are preferred by home growers and local-market farmers who want ripe fruit throughout the season. As an intermediate form, there are plants sometimes known as vigorous determinate or semi-determinate; these top off like determinates, but produce a second crop after the initial crop. The majority of heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate, although some determinate heirlooms exist.[ citation needed ]

Early tomatoes and cool-summer tomatoes bear fruit even where nights are cool, which usually discourages fruit set.[ citation needed ] There are varieties high in beta carotenes and vitamin A, hollow tomatoes and tomatoes that keep for months in storage.[ citation needed ] In 1973, Israeli scientists developed the world's first long shelf-life commercial tomato varieties. [44] [ better source needed ]

Heirloom tomatoes are becoming[ when? ] increasingly popular, particularly among home gardeners and organic producers[ where? ], since they tend to produce more interesting and flavorful crops at the cost of disease resistance and productivity. [43] The definition of an heirloom tomato is vague, but unlike commercial hybrids, all are self-fertile varieties that have bred true for 40 years or more. Quite a few seed merchants and banks provide a large selection of heirloom seeds. [43] Home cultivars are often bred for flavor to the exclusion of all other qualities, while commercial cultivars are bred for factors like consistent size and shape, disease and pest resistance, suitability for mechanized picking and shipping, and ability to ripen after picking.[ citation needed ] Hybrid plants remain common[ where? ], since they tend to be heavier producers, and sometimes may combine unusual characteristics of heirloom tomatoes with the ruggedness of conventional commercial tomatoes.[ citation needed ]

Most modern tomato cultivars are smooth surfaced, but some older tomato cultivars and most modern beefsteaks show pronounced ribbing, a feature that may have been common to virtually all pre-Columbian cultivars.[ citation needed ] While virtually all commercial tomato varieties are red, some cultivars – especially heirlooms – produce fruit in blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, black, brown, ivory, white, and purple. Such fruits are not widely available in grocery stores, nor are their seedlings available in typical nurseries, but they can be bought as seed. Variations include multicolored fruit with stripes (Green Zebra), fuzzy skin on the fruit (Fuzzy Peach, Red Boar), multiple colors (Hillbilly, Burracker's Favorite, Lucky Cross), etc.

Diseases, pests, and disorders

Tomato fruitworm feeding on unripe tomato Tomato fruitworm.jpg
Tomato fruitworm feeding on unripe tomato
Tomato bug feeding on tomato plant sap Engytatus modestus closeup 2.jpg
Tomato bug feeding on tomato plant sap
A split heirloom tomato, caused by fluctuation in water availability Split tomato.jpg
A split heirloom tomato, caused by fluctuation in water availability

Tomato cultivars vary widely in their resistance to disease. Modern hybrids focus on improving disease resistance over the heirloom plants.

Various forms of mildew and blight are common tomato afflictions, which is why tomato cultivars are often marked with a combination of letters that refer to specific disease resistance. The most common letters are: LB late blight , [45] V verticillium wilt, F fusarium wilt strain I, FFfusarium wilt strain I and II, N nematodes , T tobacco mosaic virus , and A alternaria .

Some common tomato pests are stink bugs, cutworms, tomato hornworms and tobacco hornworms, aphids, cabbage loopers, whiteflies, tomato fruitworms, flea beetles, red spider mite, slugs, [46] and Colorado potato beetles. The tomato russet mite, Aculops lycopersici , feeds on foliage and young fruit of tomato plants, causing shrivelling and necrosis of leaves, flowers, and fruit, possibly killing the plant. [47]

A common tomato disease is tobacco mosaic virus. Handling cigarettes and other infected tobacco products can transmit the virus to tomato plants. [48]

Another particularly dreaded disease is curly top, carried by the beet leafhopper, which interrupts the lifecycle. As the name implies, it has the symptom of making the top leaves of the plant wrinkle up and grow abnormally.[ citation needed ]

After an insect attack tomato plants produce systemin, a plant peptide hormone . Systemin activates defensive mechanisms, such as the production of protease inhibitors to slow the growth of insects. The hormone was first identified in tomatoes, but similar proteins have been identified in other species since. [49]

Although not a disease as such, irregular supplies of water can cause growing or ripening fruit to split. Besides cosmetic damage, the splits may allow decay to start, although growing fruits have some ability to heal after a split. In addition, a deformity called cat-facing can be caused by pests, temperature stress, or poor soil conditions. Affected fruit usually remains edible, but its appearance may be unsightly.

Companion plants

Tomatoes serve, or are served by, a large variety of companion plants.

Among the most famous pairings is the tomato plant and carrots; studies supporting this relationship have produced a popular book about companion planting, Carrots Love Tomatoes. [50]

The devastating tomato hornworm has a major predator in various parasitic wasps, whose larvae devour the hornworm, but whose adult form drinks nectar from tiny-flowered plants like umbellifers. Several species of umbellifer are therefore often grown with tomato plants, including parsley, queen anne's lace, and occasionally dill. These also attract predatory flies that attack various tomato pests. [51]

Borage is thought to repel the tomato hornworm moth. [52]

Plants with strong scents, like alliums (onions, chives, garlic), mints (basil, oregano, spearmint) and French marigold, ( Tagetes patula ) are thought to mask the scent of the tomato plant, making it harder for pests to locate it, or to provide an alternative landing point, reducing the odds of the pests from attacking the correct plant. [53] These plants may also subtly affect the flavor of tomato fruit. [54]

Ground cover plants, including mints, stabilize moisture loss around tomato plants and other Solanaceae, which come from very humid climates, and therefore may prevent moisture-related problems like blossom end rot.[ citation needed ]

Tap-root plants like dandelions break up dense soil and bring nutrients from below a tomato plant's reach, possibly benefiting their companion.[ citation needed ]

Tomato plants can protect asparagus from asparagus beetles, because they contain solanine that kills this pest,[ citation needed ] while asparagus plants contain Asparagusic acid that repels nematodes known to attack tomato plants. [55] Marigolds also repel nematodes. [56] [57] [58]


Tomato flower in full bloom, next to a young, green developing fruit Tomato flower and young fruit.jpg
Tomato flower in full bloom, next to a young, green developing fruit
Flowers and ripe fruit can be present simultaneously Tomato scanned.jpg
Flowers and ripe fruit can be present simultaneously

In the wild, original state, tomatoes required cross-pollination; they were much more self-incompatible than domestic cultivars. As a floral device to reduce selfing, the pistil of wild tomatoes extends farther out of the flower than today's cultivars. The stamens were, and remain, entirely within the closed corolla.

As tomatoes were moved from their native areas, their traditional pollinators, (probably a species of halictid bee) did not move with them. [59] The trait of self-fertility became an advantage, and domestic cultivars of tomato have been selected to maximize this trait. [59]

This is not the same as self-pollination, despite the common claim that tomatoes do so. That tomatoes pollinate themselves poorly without outside aid is clearly shown in greenhouse situations, where pollination must be aided by artificial wind, vibration of the plants (one brand of vibrator is a wand called an "electric bee" that is used manually), or more often today, by cultured bumblebees. [60] The anther of a tomato flower is shaped like a hollow tube, with the pollen produced within the structure, rather than on the surface, as in most species. The pollen moves through pores in the anther, but very little pollen is shed without some kind of externally-induced motion. The ideal vibratory frequencies to release pollen grains are provided by an insect, such as a bumblebee, or the original wild halictid pollinator, capable of engaging in a behavior known as buzz pollination, which honey bees cannot perform. In an outdoors setting, wind or animals usually provide sufficient motion to produce commercially viable crops.[ citation needed ]

Fruit formation

Pollination and fruit formation depend on meiosis. Meiosis is central to the processes by which diploid microspore mother cells within the anther give rise to haploid pollen grains, and megaspore mother cells in ovules that are contained within the ovary give rise to haploid nuclei. Union of haploid nuclei from pollen and ovule (fertilization) can occur either by self- or cross-pollination. Fertilization leads to the formation of a diploid zygote that can then develop into an embryo within the emerging seed. Repeated fertilizations within the ovary are accompanied by maturation of the ovary to form the tomato fruit.

Homologs of the recA gene, including rad51 , play a key role in homologous recombinational repair of DNA during meiosis. A rad51 homolog is present in the anther of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), [61] suggesting that recombinational repair occurs during meiosis in tomato.

Hydroponic and greenhouse cultivation

Tomatoes are often grown in greenhouses in cooler climates, and cultivars such as the British 'Moneymaker' and a number of cultivars grown in Siberia are specifically bred for indoor growing. In more temperate climates, it is not uncommon to start seeds in greenhouses during the late winter for future transplant.

Greenhouse tomato production in large-acreage commercial greenhouses and owner-operator stand-alone or multiple-bay greenhouses is on the increase, providing fruit during those times of the year when field-grown fruit is not readily available. Smaller sized fruit (cherry and grape), or cluster tomatoes (fruit-on-the-vine) are the fruit of choice for the large commercial greenhouse operators while the beefsteak varieties are the choice of owner-operator growers. [62]

Hydroponic technique is often used in hostile growing environments, as well as high-density plantings.

Picking and ripening

To facilitate transportation and storage, tomatoes are often picked unripe (green) and ripened in storage with ethylene. [63] Unripe tomatoes are firm. As they ripen they soften until reaching the ripe state where they are red or orange in color and slightly soft to the touch.[ citation needed ] Ethylene is a hydrocarbon gas that many fruits produce, which acts as the molecular cue to begin the ripening process. Tomatoes ripened in this way tend to keep longer, but have poorer flavor and a mealier, starchier texture than tomatoes ripened on the plant. [ citation needed ] They may be recognized by their color, which is more pink or orange than the other ripe tomatoes' deep red, depending on variety.[ citation needed ]

A machine-harvestable variety of tomato (the "square tomato") was developed in the 1950s by University of California, Davis's Gordie C. Hanna, which, in combination with the development of a suitable harvester, revolutionized the tomato-growing industry. This type of tomato is grown commercially near plants that process and can tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. They are harvested when ripe and are flavorful when picked. They are harvested 24 hours a day, seven days a week during a 12- to 14-week season, and immediately transported to packing plants, which operate on the same schedule. California is a center of this sort of commercial tomato production and produces about a third of the processed tomatoes produced in the world. [64]

In 1994, Calgene introduced a genetically modified tomato called the FlavrSavr , which could be vine ripened without compromising shelf life. However, the product was not commercially successful, and was sold only until 1997. [65] Slow-ripening cultivars of tomato have been developed by crossing a non-ripening cultivar with ordinary cultivars.[ citation needed ]


The world dedicated 4.8 million hectares in 2012 for tomato cultivation and the total production was about 161.8 million tonnes. [66] The average world farm yield for tomato was 33.6 tonnes per hectare, in 2012. [66]

Tomato farms in the Netherlands were the most productive in 2012, with a nationwide average of 476 tonnes per hectare, followed by Belgium (463 tonnes per hectare) and Iceland (429 tonnes per hectare). [67]


The "tomato tree" as seen by guests on the Living with the Land boat ride at Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, Florida Tomatotree.JPG
The "tomato tree" as seen by guests on the Living with the Land boat ride at Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

As of 2008, the heaviest tomato harvested, weighed 3.51 kg (7 lb 12 oz), was of the cultivar "Delicious", and was grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986. [68] [ unreliable source? ] The largest tomato plant grown was of the cultivar "Sungold" and reached 19.8 m (65 ft) in length, grown by Nutriculture Ltd (UK) of Mawdesley, Lancashire, UK, in 2000. [69]

A massive "tomato tree" growing inside the Walt Disney World Resort's experimental greenhouses in Lake Buena Vista, Florida may have been the largest single tomato plant in the world. The plant has been recognized as a Guinness World Record Holder, with a harvest of more than 32,000 tomatoes and a total weight of 522 kg (1,151 lb). [70] [ full citation needed ] It yielded thousands of tomatoes at one time from a single vine. Yong Huang, Epcot's manager of agricultural science, discovered the unique plant in Beijing, China. Huang brought its seeds to Epcot and created the specialized greenhouse for the fruit to grow. The vine grew golf ball-sized tomatoes, which were served at Walt Disney World restaurants.[ citation needed ] The tree developed a disease and was removed in April 2010 after about 13 months of life. [70]


Stuffed tomatoes (stuffed with hard-boiled egg and Parmesan) Tomates farcies vegetariennes.jpg
Stuffed tomatoes (stuffed with hard-boiled egg and Parmesan)

Though it is botanically a berry, a subset of fruit, the tomato is a vegetable for culinary purposes because of its savory flavor (see below).

Although tomatoes originated in the Americas, they have become extensively used in Mediterranean cuisine. They are a key ingredient in pizza, and are commonly used in pasta sauces. They are also used in gazpacho (Spanish cuisine) and pa amb tomàquet (Catalan cuisine).

The tomato is now grown and eaten around the world. It is used in diverse ways, including raw in salads or in slices, stewed, incorporated into a wide variety of dishes, or processed into ketchup or tomato soup. Unripe green tomatoes can also be breaded and fried, used to make salsa, or pickled. Tomato juice is sold as a drink, and is used in cocktails such as the Bloody Mary.


Tomatoes keep best unwashed at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. It is not recommended to refrigerate them as this can harm the flavor. [71] Tomatoes stored cold tend to lose their flavor permanently. [72]

Storing stem down can prolong shelf life, [73] as it may keep from rotting too quickly. [74]

Tomatoes that are not yet ripe can be kept in a paper bag till ripening. [75]

Tomatoes are easy to preserve whole, in pieces, as tomato sauce or paste by home canning. They are acidic enough to process in a water bath rather than a pressure cooker as most vegetables require. The fruit is also preserved by drying, often in the sun, and sold either in bags or in jars with oil.


Plant toxicity

The leaves, stem, and green unripe fruit of the tomato plant contain small amounts of the alkaloid tomatine, whose effect on humans has not been studied. [22] They also contain small amounts of solanine, a toxic alkaloid found in potato leaves and other plants in the nightshade family. [76] [77] Because of this, the use of tomato leaves in herbal tea has been responsible for at least one death. [76] However, solanine concentrations in foliage and green fruit are generally too small to be dangerous unless large amounts are consumed—for example, as greens.

Small amounts of tomato foliage are sometimes used for flavoring without ill effect, and the green fruit of unripe red tomato varieties is sometimes used for cooking, particularly as fried green tomatoes. [22] There are also tomato varieties with fully ripe fruit that is still green. Compared to potatoes, the amount of solanine in unripe green or fully ripe tomatoes is low. However, even in the case of potatoes, while solanine poisoning resulting from dosages several times normal human consumption has been demonstrated, actual cases of poisoning from excessive consumption of potatoes are rare. [77]

Tomato plants can be toxic to dogs if they eat large amounts of the fruit, or chew plant material. [78]

A sign posted at a Havelock, North Carolina Burger King telling customers no tomatoes are available due to the 2008 United States salmonellosis outbreak No Tomatoes.jpg
A sign posted at a Havelock, North Carolina Burger King telling customers no tomatoes are available due to the 2008 United States salmonellosis outbreak


Tomatoes were linked to seven Salmonella outbreaks between 1990 and 2005, [79] and may have been the cause of a salmonellosis outbreak causing 172 illnesses in 18 US states in 2006. [80] The 2008 United States salmonellosis outbreak caused the temporary removal of tomatoes from stores and restaurants across the United States and parts of Canada, [81] although other foods, including jalapeño and serrano peppers, may have been involved.


Red tomatoes, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 74 kJ (18 kcal)
3.9 g
Sugars 2.6 g
Dietary fiber 1.2 g
0.2 g
0.9 g
Vitamins Quantity%DV
Vitamin A equiv.
42 μg
449 μg
123 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.037 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.594 mg
Vitamin B6
0.08 mg
Vitamin C
14 mg
Vitamin E
0.54 mg
Vitamin K
7.9 μg
Minerals Quantity%DV
11 mg
0.114 mg
24 mg
237 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water94.5 g
Lycopene 2573 µg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

A tomato is 95% water, contains 4% carbohydrates and less than 1% each of fat and protein (table). In a 100 gram amount, raw tomatoes supply 18 calories and are a moderate source of vitamin C (17% of the Daily Value), but otherwise are absent of significant nutrient content (table).

Potential health effects

No conclusive evidence indicates that the lycopene in tomatoes or in supplements affects the onset of cardiovascular diseases or cancer. [82] [83]

In the United States, supposed health benefits of consuming tomatoes, tomato products or lycopene to affect cancer cannot be mentioned on packaged food products without a qualified health claim statement. [84] In a scientific review of potential claims for lycopene favorably affecting DNA, skin exposed to ultraviolet radiation, heart function and vision, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that the evidence for lycopene having any of these effects was inconclusive. [85]

Host plant

The Potato Tuber moth ( Phthorimaea operculella ) is an oligophagous insect that prefers to feed on plants of the family Solanaceae such as tomato plants. Female P. operculella use the leaves to lay their eggs and the hatched larvae will eat away at the mesophyll of the leaf. [86]

On 30 August 2007, 40,000 Spaniards gathered in Buñol to throw 115,000 kg (254,000 lb) of tomatoes at each other in the yearly Tomatina festival. [87]

Tomatoes thrown from a truck during the Spanish Tomatina festival. Arrojando tomates desde un camion - La Tomatina 2010.jpg
Tomatoes thrown from a truck during the Spanish Tomatina festival.

In Ontario, Canada, member of provincial parliament Mike Colle introduced a private member's bill in March 2016 to name the tomato as the official vegetable of the province and to designate 15 July as Tomato Day, in order to acknowledge the tomato's importance in Ontario's agriculture. [88] [89] The bill did not pass in the legislature and no official designations were made. [90]

Tomatoes have been designated the state vegetable of New Jersey. Arkansas took both sides by declaring the South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato both the state fruit and the state vegetable in the same law, citing both its culinary and botanical classifications. In 2009, the state of Ohio passed a law making the tomato the state's official fruit. Tomato juice has been the official beverage of Ohio since 1965. A.W. Livingston, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, played a large part in popularizing the tomato in the late 19th century; his efforts are commemorated in Reynoldsburg with an annual Tomato Festival.[ citation needed ]

Flavr Savr was the first commercially grown genetically engineered food licensed for human consumption. [91]

The town of Buñol, Spain, annually celebrates La Tomatina, a festival centered on an enormous tomato fight. Tomatoes are a popular "nonlethal" throwing weapon in mass protests, and there was a common tradition of throwing rotten tomatoes at bad performers on a stage during the 19th century; today this is usually referenced as a metaphor. Embracing it for this protest connotation, the Dutch Socialist party adopted the tomato as their logo.

The US city of Reynoldsburg, Ohio calls itself "The Birthplace of the Tomato", claiming the first commercial variety of tomato was bred there in the 19th century. [32]

Several US states have adopted the tomato as a state fruit or vegetable (see above).

"Rotten Tomatoes" is an American review-aggregation website for film and television. The name "Rotten Tomatoes" derives from the practice of audiences throwing rotten tomatoes when disapproving of a poor stage performance. "Rotten Tomatoes" took the tomato metaphor further by rating films as Certified Fresh if they got a score of 75% or higher, Fresh for films with a score of 60% or higher that do not meet the requirements for the Certified Fresh seal, and Rotten for films with a score of 0–59% .

See also

Related Research Articles

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Pear genus of plants

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Eggplant plant species Solanum melongena

Eggplant (US), aubergine (UK), or brinjal is a plant species in the nightshade family Solanaceae, Solanum melongena, grown for its often purple edible fruit.

<i>Solanum</i> genus of plants

Solanum is a large and diverse genus of flowering plants, which include three food crops of high economic importance, the potato, the tomato and the eggplant. It also contains the nightshades and horse nettles, as well as numerous plants cultivated for their ornamental flowers and fruit.

Persimmon Edible fruit

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Cucumber species of plant

Cucumber is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae. It is a creeping vine that bears cucumiform fruits that are used as vegetables. There are three main varieties of cucumber: slicing, pickling, and seedless. Within these varieties, several cultivars have been created. In North America, the term "wild cucumber" refers to plants in the genera Echinocystis and Marah, but these are not closely related. The cucumber is originally from South Asia, but now grows on most continents. Many different types of cucumber are traded on the global market.

Plug (horticulture) seedling grown in tray

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Solanine glycoalkaloid

Solanine is a glycoalkaloid poison found in species of the nightshade family within the genus Solanum, such as the potato, the tomato, and the eggplant. It can occur naturally in any part of the plant, including the leaves, fruit, and tubers. Solanine has pesticidal properties, and it is one of the plant's natural defenses. Solanine was first isolated in 1820 from the berries of the European black nightshade, after which it was named. It belongs to the chemical family of saponins.

Heirloom plant

An heirloom plant, heirloom variety, heritage fruit, or heirloom vegetable is an old cultivar of a plant used for food that is grown and maintained by gardeners and farmers, particularly in isolated or ethnic minority communities of the Western world. These were commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but are not used in modern large-scale agriculture.

<i>Solanum aethiopicum</i> species of plant

Solanum aethiopicum, the bitter tomato, Ethiopian eggplant (ባሚያ), or nakati, is a fruiting plant of the genus Solanum mainly found in Asia and Tropical Africa. It is also known as Ethiopian nightshade, garden eggs, and mock tomato. It is a popular vegetable in north-east India, and is known as khamen akhaba in Manipuri and samtawk in Mizo. They are called Titay bii or simply bii in Darjeeling, Sikkim and Nepal and are relished with meat, particularly pork. These names are a result of its varied morphology, with ripe fruit often looking like a cross between an eggplant and a tomato, which are also from Solanum. In fact, the Ethiopian eggplant was so much confused with the ordinary eggplant that this was considered by some a variety violaceum of S. aethiopicum.

Cherry tomato variety of plants

The cherry tomato is a type of small round tomato believed to be an intermediate genetic admixture between wild currant-type tomatoes and domesticated garden tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes range in size from a thumbtip up to the size of a golf ball, and can range from spherical to slightly oblong in shape. Although usually red, other varieties such as yellow, green, and black also exist. Those shaped like an oblong share characteristics with plum tomatoes and are known as grape tomatoes. The berry tomato is regarded as a botanical variety of the cultivated berry, Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme.

<i>Lycopersicon</i> section of plants

Lycopersicon was a genus in the flowering plant family Solanaceae. It contained about 13 species in the tomato group of nightshades. First removed from the genus Solanum by Philip Miller in 1754, its removal leaves the latter genus paraphyletic, so modern botanists generally accept the names in Solanum. The name Lycopersicon is still used by gardeners, farmers, and seed companies. Collectively, the species in this group apart from the common cultivated plant are called wild tomatoes.

Scarlet eggplant species of plant

The scarlet eggplant is a fruiting plant of the genus Solanum, related to the tomato and eggplant. Its green fruit is known as Gilo. It was once treated as a distinct species, Solanum gilo, but it is now known to be a cultivar group of Solanum aethiopicum.

<i>Solanum muricatum</i> species of plant

Solanum muricatum is a species of evergreen shrub native to South America and grown for its sweet edible fruit.

<i>Solanum pimpinellifolium</i> species of plant

Solanum pimpinellifolium, commonly known as the currant tomato, is a wild species of tomato native to Ecuador and Peru but naturalized elsewhere, such as the Galápagos Islands. Its small fruits are edible, and it is commonly grown in gardens as an heirloom tomato, although it is considered to be wild rather than domesticated as is the commonly cultivated tomato species Solanum lycopersicum. Its genome was recently sequenced.

<i>Solanum sisymbriifolium</i> species of plant

Solanum sisymbriifolium is commonly known as vila-vila, sticky nightshade, red buffalo-bur, the fire-and-ice plant, litchi tomato, or Morelle de Balbis.

Tomato and potato cultivars are commonly classified as determinate or indeterminate according to the amount of time that they produce new leaves and flowers. Varieties that produce few leaves and flowers over a shorter period are classed as determinate and those that produce new leaves and flowers for longer are classed as indeterminate.

Solanum jamesii is a species of nightshade. Its range includes the southern United States. All parts of the plant, and especially the fruit, are toxic, containing solanine when it matures. The tubers were/are eaten raw or cooked by several Native American tribes, but they require leaching and boiling in clay in order to be rendered edible. The tubers are also extremely small when compared to familiar varieties of S. tuberosum. Escalante Valley in Utah boasts the oldest known cultivation sites of the Four Corners potato, dating back over 7,000 years, and the plant is so prevalent there that a former name for area was "Potato Valley". S. jamesii is sometimes grown in yards or gardens as an ornamental plant, and there have been recent experiments in Escalante, Utah to start growing it as a food vegetable again.

The Hillbilly Tomato, also known as the "hillbilly potato leaf tomato", scientific name Solanum lycopersicum, is an heirloom cultivar originating from West Virginia in the 1800s. This fruit is considered a beefsteak tomato weighing 1-2 pounds. It is round, heavily ribbed and its skin and flesh is orange- yellow with red streaks. The flavor is described "sweet and fruity" and is low in acid.

Raf tomato

The Raf tomato is a tomato obtained from artificial selection practiced on traditional tomatoes are planted outdoors since 1969. Its origin is Almeria (SPAIN). The Raf tomato Marmande is a variety who stands out for its flavor and texture, as well as its resistance to water with high salt content.


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Further reading