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Overview

Brief Summary

Introduction

The cultivated tomato, Solanum lycopersicum, is grown worldwide for its fruits.Tomatoes are native to South America, but were brought to Europe sometime in the 1500s, where they soon became popular and were exported around the world (Eu-Sol: Tomato history).For a long time tomatoes were known by the name Lycopersicon esculentum, but recent work by scientists has shown that they are really part of the genus Solanum - as Linnaeus recognised when he first described the species. Today scientists and plant breeders all use the name Solanum lycopersicum for the cultivated tomato.
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Introduction

The tomato is cultivated worldwide for its delicious fruits. Although we call it a vegetable, the tomato we eat is a berry. It is one of the most important cultivated members of the family Solanaceae, along with the potato, the eggplant, tobacco and petunias. In some places, tomato plants can become weeds and somewhat invasive.
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Sandra Knapp

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Succinct

The tomato is a herbaceous plant with highly divided leaves that have long, slender hairs with a distinctive scent (caused by glands on the hair tips). The flowers are bright yellow and have a bottle-shaped stamen cone in the center. The fruit is usually bright red, but can be many different colors - there are many varieties of the tomato. Originally, the tomato was from the western coastal deserts of South America, but today grows all over the world.
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Comprehensive Description

Description

This herbaceous plant is a summer annual in temperate climates, while in tropical climates it is usually a perennial. The growth form is usually a sprawling indeterminate vine about 3-8' long, although short determinate plants less than 3' long may remain erect. As a vine, this plant will sprawl across the ground, unless it is trained along a wire cage, trellis, or fence; it can also be tied to a stake in some cases. The stems branch occasionally; they are light green to purplish green, more or less terete, and glandular short-pubescent. In addition, spreading hairs may be scattered across the stems. Alternate compound leaves occur along these stems that are widely spreading; they are 4-18" long and 2-6" across. These compound leaves are odd-pinnate with 3-5 pairs of lateral (or primary) leaflets and a terminal leaflet. Interspersed between the lateral leaflets are smaller secondary leaflets. The petioles of the compound leaves are 1-4" long, light green to purplish green, and glandular short-pubescent; they also may have scattered spreading hairs. The lateral leaflets are 1¼-3" long and about one-half as much across; they are ovate or lanceolate in shape, coarsely dentate or crenate along their margins, and sometimes shallowly cleft. The terminal leaflet is slightly larger in size than the lateral leaflets, otherwise it is similar in appearance. The secondary leaflets are up to ½" long and at least one-half as much across; they are ovate or oval in shape, while their margins are sparingly dentate, crenate, or entire (smooth). The bases of lateral leaflets are often oblique (asymmetric). The upper leaflet surfaces are medium green and sparsely glandular short-pubescent (appearing almost glabrous), while the lower leaflet surfaces are pale green and moderately glandular short-pubescent. The rachises and petioles of these compound leaves are light green and glandular short-pubescent. In addition, they may have scattered spreading hairs. The petiolules (basal stalklets) of the lateral and terminal leaflets are up to ¾" long, light green, and glandular short-pubescent. The secondary leaflets are sessile, or they have even shorter basal stalklets. Occasionally, short racemes of 3-15 flowers up to 4" long develop from the axils of the compound leaves. Each flower is about ½" across, consisting of a short calyx with 5 linear teeth, a yellow corolla with 5 spreading to strongly recurved lobes, a column of 5 united stamens, and a pistil with a single style. The calyx is light green and glandular short-pubescent; it may have a few spreading hairs. The lobes of the corolla are narrowly deltate (triangular) and they are longer than the teeth of the calyx. The peduncle and pedicels of the raceme are light green, glandular short-pubescent, and often crooked; they also may have scattered spreading hairs. The blooming period occurs from early summer into autumn, lasting several months (for indeterminate seed-started plants). Some flowers will fail to set fruits; they are self-fertile to some extent, but fruit-set is better with either hand- or insect-pollination. The fruits are berries ranging from ½" to 4" across; wild plants usually produce smaller fruits. These fruits are subgloboid, globoid, broadly ellipsoid, or pyriform (pear-like) in shape with shiny smooth skin; young fruits are glandular short-pubescent, but they become more glabrous with age. Immature fruits are light green or whitish green, but they become yellow, orange, or red (usually the latter) at maturity. The peduncles, pedicels, and calyx teeth of these fruits become enlarged as they mature. The interior of mature fruits is fleshy, juicy, and slightly tart-sweet; numerous seed-bearing cavities are scattered throughout the interior (although smaller fruits will have fewer seed-bearing cavities). Individual seeds are 2.0-3.5 mm. long and about one-half as much across; they are light tan, flattened-obovoid in shape, smooth-sided, and finely pubescent along their margins. The light seeds are sometimes distributed by wind or water. This plant reproduces by reseeding itself.
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Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Plains to Mid Altitude, Cultivated, Native of Tropical America"
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Description

Sprawling or sub-erect short-lived herb, widely cultivated for its edible fruit. It is known as an occasional escape from cultivation. All parts of the plant covered in long viscid hairs. Leaves pinnatisect, divided to the midrib. Flowers in lateral raceme-like heads on long peduncles, yellow. Fruit - the well-known tomato - bright red when ripe.
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Introduction

Wherever you are from, it is probable that you eat tomatoes in one form or another. Tomatoes originated in South America but are now found all over the world. Without tomatoes we would have no cheese and tomato pizza; no ketchup; no baked beans on toast; no lasagne or spaghetti Bolognese; no tomato soup; no BLTs; no mozzarella, tomato, and basil salad; no tomato gazpacho; no tuna nicoise; no salsa; and no tomatoes with our fried breakfast--or any of the other hundreds of dishes that use this savoury fruit. (Although often thought of as a vegetable, tomatoes are technically a fruit. They contain the seeds from which new tomatoes plants will grow.)

Wild Tomatoes

Tomatoes are thought to have first grown in western South America, in the region of modern day Peru and Ecuador. Wild species are still found in these areas as well as farther south in Chile and Bolivia. Tomato plants are found in all sorts of environments from the deserts and dry valleys on the Western slopes of the Andes to fog-saturated cloud forests and even above the snowline on the Andean mountains. However, most wild species prefer dry conditions.

Very varied in size, colour, and appearance, most wild tomatoes don’t look anything like those you would buy in a shop. They are usually about a centimetre across, green in colour, and covered with fur. What’s more, their taste can be distinctly bitter and unpleasant. Which of these wild tomatoes (if any) gave rise to the modern tomato is not certain, but it probably developed from the species Solanum pimpinellifolium, which looks and tastes most like the tomatoes we are used to.

Domestication of the Tomato

At one decisive moment in the history of the tomato, someone decided to plant and grow tomatoes rather than picking them in the wild. This was the very first tomato farmer and with that move the future of the tomato was changed forever. When or where this first happened we will never know for sure. Some people have guessed tomatoes were first grown in Peru and Ecuador (around where the tomato originated thousands of years ago). This area was home to many complex civilisations, culminating in the Incas, but no evidence has yet been found that any of them farmed tomatoes. Others have suggested that tomatoes were first cultivated by humans in Mexico--around 4000 miles to the north. Certainly by the 1500s, when Europeans first arrived in Mexico, the native peoples had long been growing tomatoes for food.

Wherever it first happened, when people started farming the tomato it would have looked much like it did in the wild. However, each time they picked their tomatoes they could use the seed from the best ones (e.g. the biggest or the sweetest) to sow more tomato plants. By selecting the best tomatoes to grow, they grew plants with better and better tomatoes. This process of changing a wild plant into one that is good for humans is called domestication and it is how wild tomatoes began to change into the tomatoes we eat today.

Spread of the Tomato

Well before the 1500s the tomato plant had already travelled 4000 km north, from its origin in the Andean region of modern day Peru and Ecuador to Mexico. It may have been that tomato plants were deliberately transported north to Mexico by humans or that after eating tomatoes birds or other animals carried the seeds there in their stomachs .

In 1492, Columbus made his first landfall in the New World. This was to change the future of the tomato, as it led to the Spanish exploration and conquest of the Americas, their discovery of the tomato plant, and the eventual spread of the tomato to all four corners of the earth.

The first tomato plants to be taken to Europe probably came from Mexico, the site of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, which was conquered by the Spanish conquistador Cortes in 1519. Here the Spanish discovered the Aztecs eating a domesticated form of the tomato that they referred to as Xitomatl. Bernardino Sahagun, a Franciscan priest who visited Mexico in 1529, wrote that the Aztecs combined tomatoes with chillies and ground squash seeds to make a sauce [or salsa]. Salsa made with tomatoes and chillies is still a popular relish in Mexico and the USA today. To find modern recipes for the tomato, including salsa, click here .

It is likely that tomatoes first arrived in Europe via some Spanish port. However, the first record we have of tomatoes in Europe appears in the 1544 work of an Italian herbalist called Matthioli. The tomato that Matthioli studied was around the size of a fist and a bright yellow colour so he called the tomato “pomi d’ oro”, or “Golden Apple”. The tomato and the name ‘Golden apple’ spread quickly north through Europe. Tomatoes were being cultivated in Germany by 1553, in Holland by 1554, and in France just a few years later, and by 1597 the tomato had crossed the channel and was being grown in England. Tomatoes had also spread rapidly in the other direction and by the beginning of the 1600s the tomato was being cultivated south of the Mediterranean, in Syria, Arabia, Ethiopia, and Egypt. By 1700, Europeans had even taken the tomato as far as China and South and Southeast Asia. The first record of a tomato in North America is from 1710. Thus, from its initial domestication in the Americas, and mainly by the hand of man, the tomato travelled all around the globe in less than 200 years. Since then it has continued to spread and at present the tomato is cultivated from Indonesia to Canada, from Iceland to Cameroon.

Use of the Tomato

The Aztecs grew the tomato for use as food. And, just after its arrival in Europe, in 1544, the Italian herbalist Matthioli noted that it was eaten in Italy, like mushrooms, fried and seasoned with salt and pepper. However, the tomato had to jump two main hurdles before it was widely accepted in Europe as a food.

Firstly, there was a common belief that the tomato was poisonous. This is not as strange as it sounds as the tomato had been identified as belonging to the same family of plants as the infamous, and aptly named, Deadly Nightshade. Also, although they are not found in the ripe fruit, the leaves and stem of tomatoes contain chemical compounds known as alkaloids that are in fact toxic to humans.

Secondly, the tomato's smell and taste seems to have put many people off. One French book on plants, published in 1600, described it like this: “This plant is more pleasant to the sight than either to the taste or smell, because the fruit being eaten, povoketh loathing and vomiting.” Whether the tomatoes available in the 1600s really tasted that bad or whether the European palate just wasn’t used to the taste is difficult to know.

By the 1600s, although it was not commonly eaten people had started to call the tomato ‘love apple’, which inspired, or was inspired by, the tomato's reputation in some quarters as an aphrodisiac, eaten to boost sexual desire. While it is safe to assume that most people did not view tomatoes as an aid to romance, they were still considered a great novelty and it was fashionable in many countries to grow them as ornamental plants – just as we might grow roses today. In fact, the first major use of tomatoes in Europe was not as food, but as a decorative plant for the gardens of the wealthy.

Gradually the tomato began to gain acceptance as food and by the beginning of the 1800s was widely eaten across Europe. It took a little longer (until the 1830s/40s) for it to become popular in North America, but soon the continent was held in the grip of a ‘tomato mania’ and there are reports of whole dinners themed around this humble fruit.

Soon after the tomato had become popular eating, people started to use it for making drinks. These included tomato wine, tomato beer, tomato whiskey, and even tomato champagne! Today we don’t drink much tomato bubbly, but the tomato is still famous for its use in the gruesome sounding cocktail: a ‘Bloody Mary’. (The Bloody Mary is a cocktail made with tomato juice and named after Queen ‘Bloody’ Mary of England who was famous for burning large numbers of Protestants at the stake. For tomato recipes, including this cocktail, click here.)

At various times in its history, both before and after its general acceptance as a food, the tomato was used in medicine. One of its most enthusiastic (if not reliable) fans was the Englishman William Salmon. In 1710 he suggested using tomatoes to treat burns, itching, ulcers, running sores, back pain, headaches, gout, sciatica, and the intriguingly named ‘fits of mother’. Interestingly, tomatoes are regarded today as beneficial for our health, if not in quite the same ways suggested by William Salmon. With our modern understanding of vitamins and compounds such as antioxidants, the tomato has become valued not only as a delicious food but also as a valuable part of a healthy diet.

How the Tomato has Changed

Wild tomatoes are small and often green, hairy, and bitter tasting. Not very appetising and a far cry from the tomatoes we would buy in the shops. But by the time the tomato had reached Europe (in the 1500s) it had already been domesticated by Native Americans. In fact, it seems they had bred tomatoes of all sizes, shapes and colours. The first tomato to be described in Europe was large, ribbed on the outside and yellow in colour. However soon other types of tomatoes appear in the records, including ones that were small and round like our cherry tomatoes.

Tomatoes changed little in the next 200 years. Then, as their popularity as a food increased, they became an important commercial crop. Suddenly it was in the interest of farmers to improve tomato plants. At first farmers concentrated on breeding plants with better yield (how much tomato fruit could be grown on a plant) and appearance. The plants became more productive and tomatoes became rounder, smoother and mostly red in colour. The number of varieties (each suited to different climates and tastes) available increased rapidly in this first burst of tomato breeding. As demand increased, it became clear that tomatoes would sell all year round. This was a problem for countries where tomatoes would only grow in the summer. Attempts were made to breed tomatoes that would produce fruit earlier in the year, but the best solution appeared to be to transport tomatoes from warmer areas where the plants would fruit all year. To do this, the tomatoes had to be made tougher so they could survive transport without damage. This meant breeding tomatoes with thicker skins that are less prone to splitting and breeding firmer tomatoes that are less likely to burst or bruise. Producing tomatoes of a regular size and shape also became important as this allowed efficient packing of the tomatoes for their journey. Increasing firmness has also increased the ease of tomato picking. To aid tomato picking further, plants that produce and ripen all their fruit at the same time and tomatoes that separate easily from their stalks have also been bred. These developments have decreased the cost of picking tomatoes and have paved the way for picking by machines.

One of the other great drivers for tomato breeders is disease prevention. Tomato breeders have pitted their wits against the continuously evolving challenge of disease since the very earliest days and it remains one of their greatest challenges. In modern field plantations or greenhouses containing large numbers of very similar tomato plants, disease can spread extremely rapidly.

The first half of the 20th century saw a dramatic development in the approach to farming. Increased availability and use of pesticides and fertilisers changed the demands of all types of farmers. Plants that could take up and benefit from high levels of fertilisers and resist otherwise very effective pesticides were now needed to make the most of modern farming techniques. By the 1980s, tomatoes had become cheaper than ever and were available to the western world 365 days a year. But there was a growing feeling that consumers and producers alike had lost sight of why the tomato was such a desirable crop: its delicious taste. All the attention on breeding these other desirable attributes into tomatoes meant that the flavour, texture, and nutritional value of tomatoes took a back seat. Since then there has been a growing interest in the quality – taste, flavour and nutritional content - of tomatoes.

To find out more about how EU-SOL, a multi-million Euro research project funded by the European Commission focussed on improving the quality of potatoes and tomatoes, aims to produce tomatoes with better flavour texture and nutritional value, click here.

To learn more about the techniques that plant breeders have used to develop the wild tomato into the varied product available today, click here.

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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

As a naturalized plant that has escaped cultivation, the Tomato is scattered across Illinois and it is relatively uncommon (see Distribution Map). Such wild plants rarely persist for more than 1-2 years. The Tomato was introduced into North America from South America. It is widely cultivated for its edible fruits both commercially and in gardens of residential areas. Naturalized habitats include fallow fields, areas around gardens, banks of creeks and drainage canals, gravel and mud bars in streams, roadsides, areas along railroads, and waste places. Disturbed areas are preferred. This cultivated plant is not invasive.
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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"Maharashtra: Nasik, Pune, Raigad, Satara, Thane Karnataka: Chikmagalur, Coorg, Mysore, N. Kanara, Shimoga Kerala: All districts Tamil Nadu: All districts"
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Worldwide distribution

Native to South America.
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Distribution habitat

Distribution
The wild relatives of tomatoes are all native to the deserts of western South America (the Atacama Desert), but Solanum lycopersicum itself is not really known from the wild.Tomatoes are cultivated on all continents except Antarctica, from sea level to 3000 metres elevation, and in temperate climates they are grown as an annual. Tomatoes can become weedy and escape from gardens, when they do, they can be a problem for rarer wild relatives that they can hybridise with.

Habitat
Tomatoes are grown in gardens and rich soil where they escape from gardens they often grow near rubbish dumps or sewage works where soil is high in nutrients.They can grow in quite dry areas, but grow bigger and produce more fruit when they are well-watered.
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Distribution: Native to C. & S. America.
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C. & S. America, Mexico, widely cultivated for its fruit (tomatoes) and naturalised elsewhere.
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Solanum lycopersicum is distributed worldwide, but is really known only from cultivation, specimens collected from natural habitats are, in our opinion, feral escapes and not truly wild populations.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Annual herb up to 90 cm tall, branched. Leaves imparipinnate, basally lyrate, up to 40 cm long; lobes ovate-lanceolate. Calyx lobes 5-6 mm long, triangular-acuminate, enlarging in fruit. Corolla limb 15-20 mm broad; lobes 5(-6), trianglar-acute; minutely ciliate. Berry globose, depressed-globose to pyriform, lobed, up to 8 cm broad, juicy, brick-red, red to yellowish in colour.
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Elevation Range

250-1400 m
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Description

Herbs annual, sprawling, 0.6-2 m tall, viscid pubescent, odorous. Petiole 2-5 cm; leaf blade mostly pinnately compound or divided, sometimes entire, 10-40 cm, base oblique, cuneate, apex obtuse; leaflets mostly 5-9, sessile or petiolulate, unequal, ovate or oblong, 5-7 cm, entire or irregularly dentate, sparingly glandular pilose. Peduncle 2-5 cm, little or not branched, often 3-7-flowered. Pedicel 1-1.5 cm. Calyx rotate-campanulate, lobes lanceolate. Corolla 2-2.5 cm in diam.; lobes narrowly oblong, 8-10 mm, often reflexed. Filaments ca. 1 mm; anthers 6-10 mm. Style ca. 1.2 cm. Berry red or orange-yellow, subglobose, fleshy, juicy, shiny. Seeds straw colored, 2-4 mm, pilose. Fl. May-Sep, fr. Sep-Nov.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

Habit: Herb
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Synonym

Lycopersicon lycopersicum (Linnaeus) Karsten; Solanum lycopersicum Linnaeus.
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Formal Description

Habit

Annual, biennial, or sometimes perennial herbs, erect initially, later procumbent viny herbs with branches extending to 4 m from center. Stems 10-14 mm in diameter at base, green, pubescent and usually villous towards the apex, with a mixture of numerous simple unicellular trichomes to 0.5 mm long and sparse simple uniseriate multicellular trichomes to 3 mm long and composed of up to 10 cells, some gland-tipped, particularly the longer ones, giving the plant a strong scent.

Sympodial Structure

Sympodial units 3-foliate, internodes 1-6(+) cm long.

Leaves

Leaves interrupted imparipinnate, (10-) 20-35 (+) cm long, (3-) 7-10 (+) cm wide, sparsely pubescent with a mixture of simple unicellular and simple uniseriate multicellular trichomes like those of the stems on both surfaces; primary leaflets 3-4 (-5) pairs, 3-7 cm long, 1-4 cm wide, ovate or elliptic, the base oblique and basiscopically decurrent, truncate to cordate, the margins dentate or crenate mainly near the base, rarely entire or deeply dentate or lobulate, the apex acute to attenuate; terminal primary leaflet usually larger than the laterals, 3-5 cm long, 1.5-3 cm wide, the petiolule 0.5-1.5 cm long, the apex usually attenuate; lateral leaflets 2-4.5 cm long, 0.8-2.5 cm wide, the petiolule 0.3-2 cm long; secondary leaflets present mainly acroscopically on basal leaflets, 0.2-0.8 cm long, 0.1-0.5 cm wide, sessile or with a short petiolule to 0.4 cm long; tertiary leaflets absent; interjected leaflets usually present, 6-10, 0.1-0.8 cm long, 0.1-0.6 cm wide, the petiolule 0.1-0.3 cm long; petiole 1.2-6 (+) cm long; pseudostipules absent.

Inflorescences

Inflorescences to 10 cm long, usually simple, rarely with 2 branches, with 5-15-flowers, peduncle less than 3 cm long, pubescent like the stems. Pedicels 1-1.2 cm long, articulated in the distal 1/3. Buds 0.5-0.8 cm long, 0.2-0.3 cm wide, conical, straight, with the corolla about halfway exserted from the calyx just before anthesis.

Flowers

Flowers with the calyx tube minute, the lobes to 0.5 cm long, linear, pubescent with long and short simple uniseriate trichomes the apex acute; corolla 1-2 cm in diameter, pentagonal, bright yellow, often fasciated and with more than 5 lobes in some cultivars, the tube 0.2-0.4 cm long, the lobes 0.5-2 cm long, 0.3-0.5 cm wide, narrowly lanceolate, sparsely pubescent with tangled uniseriate trichomes ca. 0.5 mm long the tips and margins, the lobes spreading at anthesis; staminal column 0.6-0.8 cm long, 0.2-0.3 (-0.5) cm wide, narrowly cone shaped, straight, the filaments minute to 0.5 mm long, the anthers 0.4-0.5 cm long, the sterile apical appendage 0.2-0.3 mm long, always less than half the total anther length; ovary conical, minutely glandular villous; style 0.6-1 cm long, <0.5 mm in diameter, usually included in the staminal column, but exserted in facultatively allogamous populations; stigma capitate, green.

Fruits

Fruits 1.5-2.5 (-10 in some cultivars) cm in diameter, usually globose, 2-locular, but often of varying shape and/or multilocular, glabrescent and becoming red, yellow or deep orange at maturity; fruiting pedicels 1-3 cm long, straight or angeld towards the inflorescence axis at the articulation, thickening in large fruited varieties; calyx lobes in fruit accrescent, ca. 0.8-1 cm long, 0.2-0.25 cm wide, somewhat to strongly reflexed.

Seeds

Seeds 2.5-3.3 mm long, 1.5-2.3 mm wide, 0.5-0.8 mm thick, obovate, pale brown, pubescent with hair-like outgrowths of the lateral testa cell walls, these adpressed and giving a silky appearance to the surface or more often shaggy, narrowly winged (0.3-0.4 mm) at the apex and acute at the base.

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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

As a naturalized plant that has escaped cultivation, the Tomato is scattered across Illinois and it is relatively uncommon (see Distribution Map). Such wild plants rarely persist for more than 1-2 years. The Tomato was introduced into North America from South America. It is widely cultivated for its edible fruits both commercially and in gardens of residential areas. Naturalized habitats include fallow fields, areas around gardens, banks of creeks and drainage canals, gravel and mud bars in streams, roadsides, areas along railroads, and waste places. Disturbed areas are preferred. This cultivated plant is not invasive.
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Habitat & Distribution

Widely cultivated in China [native to Mexico and South America]
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Cultivated worldwide, and often escapes in moist areas where it can persist for a while.
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Sandra Knapp

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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers are cross-pollinated by bumblebees, Halictid bees, and possibly other bees. The floral reward is pollen. Insects that feed destructively on tomato plants include several species of leaf beetles (including Epitrix spp., Lema spp., Leptinotarsa decemlineata, Plagiometriona clavata, & Psylliodes affinis), polyphagous stink bugs (including Euschistus spp.), an aphid (Rhopalosiphoninus solani), the Garden Fleahopper (Halticus bractatus), caterpillars of a Noctuid moth, the Tomato Fruitworm (Helicoverpa zea), and caterpillars of two sphinx moths, the Tobacco Hornworm (Manduca sexta) and Tomato Hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata). Various mammals probably feed on the fruits, but these records are incomplete. The Cottontail Rabbit sometimes nibbles on the foliage of young plants when they are less toxic, and during hot dry summer weather they sometimes gnaw on ripened fruits to gain access to their moisture. There is also some evidence that the Snapping Turtle (Cheldyra serpentina), Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina), and Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata) like to feed on the ripened fruits (Ernst et al., 1994; Lagler, 1943). Similar to other berry-producing species in the Nightshade family, tomato seeds can probably pass through the gullets of such animals and remain viable. As a result, these animals may spread the seeds of this plant to new areas. The foliage and immature green fruits are more or less toxic from the alkaloids solanine and tomatine. Thus their consumption is usually avoided by most vertebrate animals.
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Tomato in Illinois

Lycopersicon esculentum (Tomato) introduced
(this cultivated plant occasionally naturalizes, but rarely persists in the wild; bees collect pollen through buzz-pollination; observations are from Macior)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Bombini): Bombus bimaculatus cp (Mc), Bombus impatiens cp (Mc)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Lasioglossum forbesii cp fq (Mc)

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In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
Aculops lycopersici parasitises browned or russeted fruit of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / gall
Agrobacterium tumefaciens causes gall of stem (esp. base) of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
Alternaria dematiaceous anamorph of Alternaria solani infects and damages live Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / spot causer
Alternaria dematiaceous anamorph of Alternaria tomato causes spots on live fruit of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
Armillaria mellea s.l. infects and damages Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / parasite
appressorium of Arthrobotrys anamorph of Arthrobotrys oligospora parasitises live root of Lycopersicon esculentum
Remarks: captive: in captivity, culture, or experimentally induced

Foodplant / sap sucker
Aulacorthum solani sucks sap of live, slightly distorted and discoloured leaf (young) of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
Botrytis dematiaceous anamorph of Botrytis cinerea infects and damages live fruit of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / spinner
caterpillar of Cacoecimorpha pronubana spins live leaf of Lycopersicon esculentum
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
basidiome of Calyptella campanula is saprobic on dead, decayed stem of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
Chaetomium cochlioides infects and damages brwon rotten root of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
Cladosporium dematiaceous anamorph of Cladosporium fulvum infects and damages live fruit of Lycopersicon esculentum
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Clavibacter michiganensis ssp. michiganensis infects and damages brown-streaked, splitting stem of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
abundant, minute sclerotium of Colletotrichum coelomycetous anamorph of Colletotrichum coccodes infects and damages live root of Lycopersicon esculentum
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / pathogen
Columnea Latent viroid infects and damages stunted, yellowed plant of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
Cucumber Mosaic virus infects and damages variably coloured (indefinite pale green patches to bright yellow and green mosiac) mottling, narrowed and indented ('fern leaf') leaf of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
subepidermal then erumpent, brown or brownish black pycnidium of Ascochyta coelomycetous anamorph of Didymella lycopersici infects and damages live, ripe fruit of Lycopersicon esculentum
Remarks: season: 5-7
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Erwinia carotovora infects and damages stem of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Fusarium anamorph of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici infects and damages Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / saprobe
colony of Gilmaniella dematiaceous anamorph of Gilmaniella humicola is saprobic on dead root of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / gall
Globodera pallida causes gall of cysted root of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / gall
Globodera rostochiensis causes gall of cysted root of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / feeds on
acervulus of Colletotrichum coelomycetous anamorph of Glomerella phomoides feeds on live, ripe, rotten fruit of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / parasite
Golovinomyces orontii parasitises live Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / open feeder
caterpillar of Lacanobia oleracea grazes on live fruit of Lycopersicon esculentum
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / feeds on
adult of Leptinotarsa decemlineata feeds on live leaf of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / miner
larva of Liriomyza bryoniae mines live leaf of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / sap sucker
Macrosiphum euphorbiae sucks sap of live shoot (young) of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / open feeder
caterpillar of Mamestra brassicae grazes on live leaf of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / gall
Meloidogyne causes gall of root of Lycopersicon esculentum
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / gall
Meloidogyne incognita causes gall of root of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
amphigenous colony of Mycocentrospora anamorph of Mycocentrospora acerina infects and damages live leaf of Lycopersicon esculentum
Remarks: captive: in captivity, culture, or experimentally induced

Foodplant / pathogen
hypophyllous, effuse colony of Mycovellosiella fulva infects and damages live leaf of Lycopersicon esculentum
Remarks: season: (4-)6-
captive: in captivity, culture, or experimentally induced
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / pathogen
abundant, sessile sporodochium of Myrothecium dematiaceous anamorph of Myrothecium roridum infects and damages dry, brittle stem (base) of Lycopersicon esculentum
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Foodplant / sap sucker
Myzus persicae sucks sap of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
Pepino Mosaic virus infects and damages Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / parasite
sporangium of Peronospora tabacina parasitises live Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
erumpent pycnidium of Phoma coelomycetous anamorph of Phoma destructiva infects and damages live, ripe fruit of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Phytophthora infestans infects and damages live stem of Lycopersicon esculentum
Remarks: season: 8-9

Foodplant / pathogen
Phytophthora nicotianae infects and damages live fruit (esp. near ground) of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Stemphylium dematiaceous anamorph of Pleospora allii is saprobic on dead Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
Potato Mosaic virus X infects and damages Tobacco Mosaic virus infected stem of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
Potato Spindle Tuber viroid infects and damages stunted, yellowed plant of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Pseudomonas corrugata infects and damages blackened stem of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Pseudomonas syringae pv. delphinii infects and damages live leaf of Lycopersicon esculentum
Remarks: Other: uncertain

Foodplant / pathogen
mycelium of Pyrenochaeta lycopersici infects and damages corky root of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / spot causer
scattered, black pycnidium of Septoria coelomycetous anamorph of Septoria lycopersici causes spots on live fruit of Lycopersicon esculentum
Remarks: season: 8-11
Other: unusual host/prey

Foodplant / gall
Spongospora subterranea f.sp. subterranea causes gall of live root of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed, becoming erumpeny conidioma of Strasseria coelomycetous anamorph of Strasseria geniculata is saprobic on dead Lycopersicon esculentum
Remarks: season: 1-5

Foodplant / feeds on
adult of Thrips tabaci feeds on live leaf of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
Tobacco Mosaic virus infects and damages Potato Mosaic virus X infected stem of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
Tomato Aspermy virus infects and damages distorted, mottled leaf of Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / pathogen
Tomato Spotted Wilt virus infects and damages Lycopersicon esculentum

Foodplant / saprobe
effuse colony of Trichoderma anamorph of Trichoderma longibrachiatum is saprobic on dead leaf of Lycopersicon esculentum
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / miner
larva of Tuta absoluta mines fruit of Lycopersicon esculentum
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / pathogen
Verticillium infects and damages Lycopersicon esculentum

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Insects whose larvae eat this plant species

Chrysodeixis chalcites (Golden twin-spot)
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flower/Fruit

Fl. Per.: July-October.
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Phenology

Solanum lycopersicum flowers and fruits throughout the year, but usually with only a single flowering and fruiting peak in any one locality (e.g. temperate summer).

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Evolution and Systematics

Systematics or Phylogenetics

Synonyms

  • Lycopersicon pomumamoris Moench Meth. 515. Type: Based on Solanum lycopersicum L.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. Gard. Dict., ed. 8, no. 2. 1768 Type: Based on Solanum lycopersicum L.
  • Lycopersicon galenii Mill. Gard. Dict. ed. 8, no. 1. 1768.
  • Solanum pseudolycopersicum Jacq. Hort. Bot. Vindob. 1: 4, tab. 11. 1770-1771.
  • Solanum spurium J.F.Gmel. Syst. Nat. 384. 1791. Type: Nom. superfl., Solanum pseudolycopersicum Jacq. cited in synonymy.
  • Solanum pomiferum Cav. Descr. Pl. 112. 1801.
  • Solanum humboldtii Willd. Hort. Berol. 1: 27. 1803. Type: “in American meridionali ad flumen nigrum Rio Negro dictum” Humboldt & Bonpland s.n. (734?) (holotype, B-WILLD [microfiche IDC 7440:5360]).
  • Lycopersicon pyriforme Dunal Hist. Nat. Solanum 112. 1813
  • Lycopersicon humboldtii (Willd.) Dunal Hist. Nat. Solanum 112. 1813 Type: Based on Solanum humboldtii Willd.
  • Lycopersicon cerasiforme Dunal Hist. Nat. Solanum 113. 1813 Type: Based on Solanum pseudolycopersicum Jacq.
  • Lycopersicon spurium Link Handbuch 1: 566. 1829. Type: unknown, nom. superfl., Solanum pseudolycopersicon Willd. cited in synonymy..
  • Lycopersicon philippinarum Dunal in DC., Prodr. 13(1) : 27. 1852
  • Lycopersicon cerasiforme var. leptophyllum Dunal in DC., Prodr. 13(1) : 26. 1852 Type: Nepal?, Wallich cat. 2611 (lectotype, G-DC designated by D’Arcy, 1978; isolectotypes, BM, K).
  • Lycopersicon macrophyllum Guss. Enum. Pl. Inar. 230. 1854.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. pyriforme (Dunal) Alef. Landw. Fl. 135. 1866. Type: Based on Lycopersicon pyriforme Dunal.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. humboltii (Willd.) Alef. Landw. Fl. 135. 1866. Type: Based on Solanum humboldtii Willd.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. vulgare Alef. Landw. Fl. 135. 1866. Type: unknown.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. luteum Alef. Landw. Fl. 135. 1866. Type: unknown.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. myrobalaneum Alef. Landw. Fl. 135. 1866. Type: unknown.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. cydonicum Alef. Landw. Fl. 135. 1866. Type: unknown.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. cerasiforme (Dunal) Alef. Landw. Fl. 135. 1866. Type: Based on Lycopersicon cerasiforme Dunal.
  • Lycopersicon lycopersicum (L.) H.Karst. Deut. Fl. (Karsten) 966. 1882. Type: Nom. rej., Based on Solanum lycopersicum L.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. cerasiforme (Dunal) A.Gray Syn. Fl. N. Am., ed II, 2: 226. 1886. Type: Based on Lycopersicon cerasiforme Dunal.
  • Solanum lycopersicum var. esculentum (Mill.) Voss in Vilmorin, Blumengartn. (ed. 3) 1: 721. 1894. Type: Based on Solanum lycopersicum L.
  • Lycopersicon lycopersicum (L.) Farwell Annual Report of the Commissioners for Parks & Boulevards, Detroit 11. 1900. Type: Nom. superfl. for Lycopersicon lycopersicum (L.) H. Karsten.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. vulgare L.H.Bailey Stand. Cycl. Hort., ed 2, 4: 1931.1917. Type: unknown.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. validum L.H.Bailey Stand. Cycl. Hort., ed. 2, 4: 1931. 1917 Type: unknown.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. pyriforme L.H.Bailey Stand. Cycl. Hort., ed 2. 1931. 1917 Type: Based on Lycopersicon pyriforme Dunal.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. grandifolium L.H.Bailey Stand. Cycl. Hort., ed 2, 4: 1932. 1917 Type: unknown.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. commune L.H.Bailey Man. Cult. Plants 656. 1924. Type: Based on Lycopersicon esculentum Miller var. vulgare L.H. Bailey.
  • Lycopersicon lycopersicum var. commune (L.H.Bailey) Farw. Amer. Midl. Naturalist 10: 217. 1927 Type: Based on Lycopersicon esculentum Miller var. vulgare L.H. Bailey.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. macrocalyx Mazk. Trudy Prikl. Bot., Suppl. 47: 285, 530. 1930.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. colombianum Mazk. Trudy Prikl. Bot., Suppl. 47: 285, 530. 1930.
  • Lycopersicon cerasiforme var. rotundilobum Mazk. Trudy Prikl. Bot., Suppl. 47: 284, 530. 1930 Type: Mexico. Veracruz: sin. loc., Bukasov s.n. (WIR – specimen not located).
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. bukasovii Mazk. Trudy Prikl. Bot., Suppl. 47: 285, 530. 1930.
  • Lycopersicon cerasiforme var. cognitum Mazk. Trudy Prikl. Bot., Suppl. 47: 283, 531. 1930. Type: Mexico. Veracruz: Tuxtla Gutierrez, Cangrejos, Bukasov s.n. (WIR – specimen not located).
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. umbertianum Mazk. Trudy Prikl. Bot., Suppl. 47: 286, 530. 1930.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum forma pyriforme (Dunal) C.H.Mull. U. S. Dept. Agric. Misc. Publ. 382: 12. 1940. Type: Based on Lycopersicon pyriforme Dunal.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum subsp. humboldtii (Willd.) Luckwill Aberdeen Univ. Studies 120: 24. 1943. Type: Based on Solanum humboldtii Willd.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum subsp. galenii (Mill.) Luckwill Aberdeen Univ. Studies 120: 23. 1943.
  • Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme (Dunal) Fosberg Phytologia 5: 290. 1955. Type: Based on Lycopersicon cerasiforme Dunal.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. humboltii (Willd.) Brezhnev in Zhukovskii, Kult. Fl. SSSR 10: 73. 1958. Type: Based on Solanum humboldtii Willd.
  • Lycopersicon esculentum var. leptophyllum (Dunal) D'Arcy Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 65: 771. 1978. Type: Based on Lycopersicon cerasiforme Dunal var. leptophyllum Dunal.
  • Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme (Dunal) D.M.Spooner, G.J.Anderson & R.K.Jansen Amer. J. Bot. 80: 683. 1993. Type: Based on Lycopersicon cerasiforme Dunal, nom. superfl. for Solanum lycopersicum L. var. cerasiforme (Dunal) Fosberg.
  • Lycopersicon lycopersicum var. cerasiforme (Dunal) M.R. Almeida Fl. Maharashtra 3B: 364. 2001. Type: Based on Lycopersicon cerasiforme Dunal.
Names associated with this species that have not been validly published:
  • Solanum luridum Salisb. Prodr. 134. 1796.
  • Solanum racemigerum Vilm. ex T.Moore Florist (London) 1869: 73. 1869.
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Phylogeny

Solanum lycopersicum is a member of the Potato clade (sensu Weese & Bohs, 2007); within the tomatoes and wild relatives it is a member of the “Lycopersicon group” and is a member of section Lycopersicon.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Lycopersicon esculentum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lycopersicon esculentum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Solanum lycopersicum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Solanum lycopersicum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 9
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lycopersicum esculentum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 11
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

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Sandra Knapp

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: TNR - Not Yet Ranked

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Conservation

As a species, Solanum lycopersicum is not rare or threatened, but many older (called “heirloom”) varieties of tomatoes are disappearing from cultivation and there is some concern that their genes may be lost for use in future plant breeding. Gene banks for tomatoes preserve these variants.
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Management

These species are introduced in Switzerland.
  • Aeschimann, D. & C. Heitz. 2005. Synonymie-Index der Schweizer Flora und der angrenzenden Gebiete (SISF). 2te Auflage. Documenta Floristicae Helvetiae N° 2. Genève.   http://www.crsf.ch/ External link.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sun, moist to mesic conditions, and fertile loamy soil. Partial sun and less fertile soil is tolerated, but fruit set will be smaller. Tomato plants are vulnerable to a variety of disease organisms; different cultivars vary in their disease resistance. Cultivars also vary significantly in the size of plants and the size of fruits that they produce, which can affect the characteristics of escaped plants.
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Uses

The Greeks eat more tomatoes per person than any other European nation. The average Greek eats 129 Kg (that's about 862 medium-sized tomatoes) of tomatoes each year.

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Wikipedia

Tomato

For other uses, see Tomato (disambiguation).

The tomato is the edible, often red fruit/berry of the nightshade Solanum lycopersicum,[1][2] commonly known as a tomato plant. The species originated in the South American Andes[2] and its use as a food originated in Mexico, and spread throughout the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Its many varieties are now widely grown, sometimes in greenhouses in cooler climates.

The tomato is consumed in diverse ways, including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes, sauces, salads, and drinks. While it is botanically a fruit, it is considered a vegetable for culinary purposes (as well as under U.S. customs regulations, see Nix v. Hedden), which has caused some confusion. The fruit is rich in lycopene, which may have beneficial health effects.

The tomato belongs to the nightshade family, Solanaceae.[1][3] The plants typically grow to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height and have a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground and vines over other plants. It is a perennial in its native habitat, although often grown outdoors in temperate climates as an annual. An average common tomato weighs approximately 100 grams (4 oz).[4][5]

History[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The word "tomato" comes from the Spanish tomate, which in turn comes from the Nahuatl word tomatotl [aːˈtomatl͡ɬ].[6] It first appeared in print in 1595. A member of the deadly nightshade family, tomatoes were erroneously thought to be poisonous (although the leaves are) by Europeans who were suspicious of their bright, shiny fruit. Native versions were small, like cherry tomatoes, and most likely yellow rather than red. The tomato is native to western South America and Central America.[6]

Mesoamerica[edit]

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.[7]:13 The Pueblo people are thought to have believed that those who witnessed the ingestion of tomato seeds were blessed with powers of divination.[8] The large, lumpy tomato, a mutation from a smoother, smaller fruit, originated in Mesoamerica, and may be the direct ancestor of some modern cultivated tomatoes.[7]

Spanish distribution[edit]

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, a Genoese working for the Spanish monarchy, may have taken them back as early as 1493. The earliest discussion of the tomato in European literature appeared in an 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. However it wasn't until ten years later that tomatoes were named in print by Mattioli as pomi d’oro, or "golden apple".[7]: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 earliest discovered cookbook with tomato recipes was published in Naples in 1692, though the author had apparently obtained these recipes from Spanish sources.[7]:17 In certain areas of Italy, such as Florence, however, the fruit was used solely as a tabletop decoration before it was incorporated into the local cuisine in the late 17th or early 18th century.

Italy[edit]

The recorded history of tomatoes in Italy dates back to 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." 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 proximity 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 them.[9]

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". 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 relatively intense flavor compared to varieties typically grown elsewhere.

Britain[edit]

Tomatoes for sale in a UK supermarket

Tomatoes were not grown in England until the 1590s.[7]:17 One of the earliest cultivators was John Gerard, a barber-surgeon.[7]:17 Gerard's Herbal, published in 1597, and largely plagiarized from continental sources,[7]:17 is also one of the earliest discussions of the tomato in England. Gerard knew the tomato was eaten in Spain and Italy.[7]:17 Nonetheless, he believed it was poisonous[7]: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.[7]:17 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 man's diet, however, 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 Italian or Jewish cuisine.[10]

Middle East and North Africa[edit]

The tomato was introduced to cultivation in the Middle East by John Barker, British consul in Aleppo circa 1799 to 1825.[11][12] 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".[13] 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.

The early name used for tomato in Iran was Armani badenjan (Armenian eggplant). Currently, the name used for tomato in Iran is gojeh farangi [exotic plum].

North America[edit]

Handful of different tomatoes from Ho Farms in Kahuku, Hawaii.

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.[7]: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.[7]:28

Alexander W. Livingston was the first person who succeeded in upgrading the wild tomato, developing different breeds and stabilizing the plants. In the 1937 yearbook of the Federal Department of Agriculture, it was 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.[14]

When Alexander W. Livingston had begun his attempts to develop the tomato as a commercial crop, his aim had been to grow tomatoes smooth in contour, uniform in size and having better flavor. One year, after many attempts, he passed through his fields, picking out particular tomato plants having distinct characteristics and heavy foliage. He saved the seeds carefully. The following spring he set two rows across his family garden located just below the hill and milk house. To his happy surprise, each plant bore perfect tomatoes like the parent vine. After five years, the fruit became fleshier and larger. In 1870, Alexander introduced the Paragon and tomato culture soon became a great enterprise in the county. Today, the crop is grown in every state in the Union. He eventually developed over seventeen different varieties of the tomato plant.[14]

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.[15] The Center is named for the late Dr. Charles M. Rick, a pioneer in tomato genetics research.[16] Research on processing tomatoes is also conducted by the California Tomato Research Institute in Escalon, California.[17]

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[edit]

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 variety in the mid 20th century that ripened uniformly. 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.[18][19]

Cultivation[edit]

Tomato plants 7 days after planting
27 days after planting
52 day old plant, first fruits

The tomato is now grown worldwide for its edible fruits, with thousands of cultivars having been selected with varying fruit types, and for optimum growth in differing growing conditions. Cultivated tomatoes vary in size, from tomberries, about 5 mm in diameter, through cherry tomatoes, about the same 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in) size as the wild tomato, up to beefsteak tomatoes 10 cm (4 in) or more in diameter. The most widely grown commercial tomatoes tend to be in the 5–6 cm (2.0–2.4 in) diameter range. Most cultivars produce red fruit, but a number of cultivars with yellow, orange, pink, purple, green, black, or white fruit are also available. Multicolored and striped fruit can also be quite striking. Tomatoes grown for canning and sauces are often elongated, 7–9 cm (3–4 in) long and 4–5 cm (1.6–2.0 in) diameter; they are known as plum tomatoes, and have a lower water content. Roma-type tomatoes are important cultivars in the Sacramento Valley.[20]

Tomatoes are one of the most common garden fruits in the United States and, along with zucchini, have a reputation for outproducing the needs of the grower.

Quite a few seed merchants and banks provide a large selection of heirloom seeds. The definition of an heirloom tomato is vague, but unlike commercial hybrids, all are self-pollinators that have bred true for 40 years or more.[20]

About 161.8 million tons of tomatoes were produced in the world in 2012. China, the largest producer, accounted for about one quarter of the global output, followed by India and the United States. For one variety, plum or processing tomatoes, California accounts for 90% of U.S. production and 35% of world production.[21]

According to FAOSTAT, the top producers of tomatoes (in tonnes) in 2012.[22]

RankCountryProduction
(MT)
1 China50,000,000
2 India17,500,000
3 United States13,206,950
4 Turkey11,350,000
5 Egypt8,625,219
6 Iran6,000,000
7 Italy5,131,977
8 Spain4,007,000
9 Brazil3,873,985
10 Mexico3,433,567


Tomato seedlings growing indoors
Green tomatoes nestled on the vine

Within the EU, there are several areas that grow tomatoes with Protected Geographical Status. These include:

Varieties[edit]

For a more comprehensive list, see List of tomato cultivars.

There are around 7,500 tomato varieties grown for various purposes. Heirloom tomatoes are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among home gardeners and organic producers, since they tend to produce more interesting and flavorful crops at the cost of disease resistance and productivity.[20] In 1973, Israeli scientists developed the world's first long shelf-life commercial tomato varieties.[23]

Hybrid plants remain common, since they tend to be heavier producers, and sometimes combine unusual characteristics of heirloom tomatoes with the ruggedness of conventional commercial tomatoes.

Tomato varieties are roughly divided into several categories, based mostly on shape and size.

  • "Slicing" or "globe" tomatoes are the usual tomatoes of commerce, used for a wide variety of processing and fresh eating.
  • Beefsteak tomatoes are large tomatoes often used for sandwiches and similar applications. Their kidney-bean shape, thinner skin, and shorter shelf life makes commercial use impractical.
  • Oxheart tomatoes can range in size up to beefsteaks, and are shaped like large strawberries.
  • Plum tomatoes, or paste tomatoes (including pear tomatoes), are bred with a higher solids content for use in tomato sauce and paste, and are usually oblong.
  • Pear tomatoes are pear-shaped, and are based upon the San Marzano types for a richer gourmet paste.
  • Cherry tomatoes are small and round, often sweet tomatoes generally eaten whole in salads.
  • Grape tomatoes, a more recent introduction, are smaller and oblong, a variation on plum tomatoes, and used in salads.
  • Campari tomatoes are also sweet and noted for their juiciness, low acidity, and lack of mealiness. They are bigger than cherry tomatoes, but are smaller than plum tomatoes.

Early tomatoes and cool-summer tomatoes bear fruit even where nights are cool, which usually discourages fruit set. There are also varieties high in beta carotenes and vitamin A, hollow tomatoes and tomatoes that keep for months in storage.

Tomatoes are also commonly 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 semideterminate; 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.

Most modern tomato cultivars are smooth surfaced, but some older tomato cultivars and most modern beefsteaks often show pronounced ribbing, a feature that may have been common to virtually all pre-Columbian cultivars. While virtually all commercial tomato varieties are red, some cultivars – especially heirlooms – produce fruit in other colors, including 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. Less common variations include fruit with stripes (Green Zebra), fuzzy skin on the fruit (Fuzzy Peach, Red Boar), multiple colors (Hillbilly, Burracker's Favorite, Lucky Cross), etc.

There is also a considerable gap between commercial and home-gardener cultivars. 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]

Tomatoes grow well with seven hours of sunlight a day. 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.

Diseases and pests[edit]

For a more comprehensive list, see List of tomato diseases.

Tomato cultivars vary widely in their resistance to disease. Modern hybrids focus on improving disease resistance over the heirloom plants. One common tomato disease is tobacco mosaic virus. Handling cigarettes and other infected tobacco products can transmit the virus to tomato plants.[24] Various forms of mildew and blight are also 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: Vverticillium wilt, Ffusarium wilt strain I, FFfusarium wilt strain I and II, Nnematodes, Ttobacco mosaic virus, and Aalternaria.

Tomato fruitworm feeding on unripe tomato

Another particularly dreaded disease is curly top, carried by the beet leafhopper, which interrupts the lifecycle, ruining a nightshade plant as a crop. As the name implies, it has the symptom of making the top leaves of the plant wrinkle up and grow abnormally.

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,[25] and Colorado potato beetles.

Tomato plants produce the plant peptide hormone systemin after an insect attack. 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.[26]

Companion plants[edit]

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

In fact, one of the most famous pairings is the tomato plant and carrots; studies supporting this relationship having produced a popular book about companion planting, Carrots Love Tomatoes.[27]

Additionally, 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.[28]

On the other hand, borage is thought to actually repel the tomato hornworm moth.[29]

Other plants with strong scents, like alliums (onions, chives, garlic) and mints (basil, oregano, spearmint) are simply 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.[30] These plants may also subtly impact the flavor of tomato fruit.[31]

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

Finally, tap-root plants like dandelions break up dense soil and bring nutrients from down below a tomato plant's reach, possibly benefiting their companion.

Tomato plants, on the other hand, protect asparagus from asparagus beetles, because they contain solanum that kills this pest, while asparagus plants (as well as marigolds[31]) contain a chemical that repels root nematodes known to attack tomato plants.

Pollination[edit]

Tomato flower in full bloom, associated with a young, developing fruit.
The flower and leaves are visible in this photo of a tomato plant.

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.[32] The trait of self-fertility became an advantage, and domestic cultivars of tomato have been selected to maximize this trait.[32]

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.[citation needed] 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 outside motion. The best source of outside motion is a sonicating bee, such as a bumblebee, or the original wild halictid pollinator. In an outside setting, wind or animals provide sufficient motion to produce commercially viable crops.

Hydroponic and greenhouse cultivation[edit]

Tomatoes are often grown in greenhouses in cooler climates, and there are cultivars such as the British 'Moneymaker' and a number of cultivars grown in Siberia that 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.[33]

Hydroponic tomatoes are also available, and the technique is often used in hostile growing environments, as well as high-density plantings.

Picking and ripening[edit]

A cluster of tomatoes

To facilitate transportation and storage, tomatoes are often picked unripe (green) and ripened in storage with ethylene.[34] 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 produced by many fruits that 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.[35]

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.[36] Slow-ripening cultivars of tomato have been developed by crossing a non-ripening cultivar with ordinary cultivars. Cultivars were selected whose fruits have a long shelf life and at least reasonable flavor.

At home, fully ripe tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator, but are best kept at room temperature. Tomatoes stored cold remain edible, but tend to lose their flavor permanently.[37] Tomatoes stored stem down may also keep from rotting too quickly.[38]

Genetic modification[edit]

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.[39] 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.

Consumption[edit]

Vegetarian stuffed tomatoes (stuffed with hard-boiled egg and Parmesan)

The tomato is now grown and eaten around the world. It is used in diverse ways, including raw in salads, and 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 are acidic, making them especially easy to preserve in home canning whole, in pieces, as tomato sauce or paste. The fruit is also preserved by drying, often in the sun, and sold either in bags or in jars with oil.

Tomatoes are used extensively 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).

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).

Nutrition[edit]

Red tomatoes, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy74 kJ (18 kcal)
3.9 g
Sugars2.6 g
Dietary fiber1.2 g
0.2 g
0.9 g
Vitamins
Vitamin A equiv.
(5%)
42 μg
(4%)
449 μg
123 μg
Thiamine (B1)
(3%)
0.037 mg
Niacin (B3)
(4%)
0.594 mg
Vitamin B6
(6%)
0.08 mg
Vitamin C
(17%)
14 mg
Vitamin E
(4%)
0.54 mg
Vitamin K
(8%)
7.9 μg
Trace metals
Magnesium
(3%)
11 mg
Manganese
(5%)
0.114 mg
Phosphorus
(3%)
24 mg
Potassium
(5%)
237 mg
Other constituents
Water94.5 g
Lycopene2573 µg

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

Tomatoes are now eaten freely throughout the world. They contain the carotene lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants. In some studies, lycopene, especially in cooked tomatoes, has been found to help prevent prostate cancer,[40] but other research contradicts this claim.[41] Lycopene has also been shown to improve the skin's ability to protect against harmful UV rays.[42] A study done by researchers at Manchester and Newcastle universities revealed that tomato can protect against sunburn and help keeping the skin looking youthful.[43] Natural genetic variation in tomatoes and their wild relatives has given a genetic plethora of genes that produce lycopene, carotene, anthocyanin, and other antioxidants. Tomato varieties are available with double the normal vitamin C (Doublerich), 40 times normal vitamin A (97L97), high levels of anthocyanin (resulting in blue tomatoes), and two to four times the normal amount of lycopene (numerous available cultivars with the high crimson gene).

Potential health effects[edit]

Some studies have indicated that the lycopene in tomatoes may help prevent cancer, but taken overall the research into this subject is inconclusive.[44] There has been some research interest in whether the lycopene in tomatoes might help in managing human neurodegenerative diseases.[45] The lycopene from tomatoes has no effect on the risk of developing diabetes, but may help relieve the oxidative stress of people who already have diabetes.[46]

Storage[edit]

Tomatoes keep best unwashed at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. It is not recommended to refrigerate as this can harm the flavor.[47] Tomatoes that are not yet ripe can be kept in a paper bag till ripening.[48] Storing stem down can prolong shelf life.[49]

Safety[edit]

Plant toxicity[edit]

Leaves, stems, and green unripe fruit of the tomato plant contain small amounts of the toxic alkaloid tomatine.[1][50] They also contain solanine, a toxic alkaloid found in potato leaves and other plants in the nightshade family.[51][52] Use of tomato leaves in herbal tea has been responsible for at least one death.[50][51] However, levels of tomatine 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 is sometimes used for cooking, particularly as fried green tomatoes.[50] Compared to potatoes the amount of solanine in green or 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 resulting from excessive consumption of potatoes that have high concentration of solanine are rare.[52]

Tomato plants can be toxic to dogs if they eat large amounts of the fruit, or chew plant material.[53]

Salmonella[edit]

A sign posted at a Havelock, North Carolina Burger King tells customers that no tomatoes are available due to the salmonellosis outbreak.

On 30 October 2006, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced tomatoes might have been the source of a salmonellosis outbreak causing 172 illnesses in 18 states.[54] Tomatoes have been linked to seven salmonella outbreaks since 1990.[55]

The 2008 United States salmonellosis outbreak caused the removal of tomatoes from stores and restaurants across the United States and parts of Canada,[56] although other foods, including jalapeño and serrano peppers, may have been involved.

Botanical description[edit]

Tomato flower

Tomato plants are vines, initially decumbent, typically growing six feet or more above the ground if supported, although erect bush varieties have been bred, generally three feet 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.

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.[57]

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.

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.[58]

The leaves are 10–25 cm (4–10 in) long, odd pinnate, with five to 9 leaflets on petioles,[59] each leaflet up to 8 cm (3 in) long, with a serrated margin; both the stem and leaves are densely glandular-hairy.

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 tend to 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.

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.

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

Botanical classification[edit]

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.[1][60] This name came into wide use, but was in breach of the plant naming rules.[1] Technically, the name Lycopersicon lycopersicum would be more correct, but is rarely used[1] (except in seed catalogs, which frequently used it and still do[citation needed]).

Genetic evidence has now shown that Linnaeus was correct to put the tomato in the genus Solanum, making Solanum lycopersicum the correct name.[3][61] Both names, however, will probably be found in the literature for some time. Two of the major reasons some still consider 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). Hybrids of tomato and diploid potato can be created in the lab by somatic fusion, and are partially fertile,[62] providing evidence of the close relationship between these species.

Wild species[edit]

Including Solanum lycopersicum, there are currently 13 species recognized in Solanum section Lycopersicon. Three of these species—S. Cheesmaniae, S. Galapagense, and S. Pimpinellifolium—are fully cross compatible with domestic tomato. Four more species—S. chmielewskii, S. habrochaites, S. neorickii, and S. pennelli—can be readily crossed with domestic tomato, with some limitations. Five species—S. arcanum, S. chilense, S. corneliomulleri, S. huaylasense, and S. peruvianum—can be crossed with domestic tomato with difficulty and usually require embryo rescue to produce viable plants. The Lycopersicon section has not been fully sampled within wild species in the South American range, so new species may be added in the future.

Solanum section Lycopersicoides and section Juglandifolium are represented by two species each that are considered bridge species genetically intermediate between tomato and non-tuber bearing potato species. S. Lycopersicoides can be crossed with domestic tomato and introgression lines [63] have been developed. This species was significant in moving the domestic tomato from separate genus status into the Solanum group because it directly links the tomato into the potato family.

Genome sequencing[edit]

Research is done 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.[64][65] A prerelease version of the genome was made available in December 2009.[66] 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.[67] 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.[68]

Breeding[edit]

Active breeding programs are ongoing by individuals, universities, corporations, and organizations. 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, Bejoseed, etc., have breeding programs that attempt to improve production, size, shape, color, flavor, disease tolerance, pest tolerance, nutritional value, and numerous other traits.

Fruit or vegetable?[edit]

Botanically, a tomato is a fruit: the ovary, together with its seeds, of a flowering plant. However, the tomato has a much lower sugar content than other edible fruits, and is therefore not as sweet. Typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, rather than at dessert, it is considered a vegetable for most culinary uses. One exception is that tomatoes are treated as a fruit in home canning practices: they are acidic enough to process in a water bath rather than a pressure cooker as vegetables require. Tomatoes are not the only food source with this ambiguity: green beans, eggplants, cucumbers, and squashes of all kinds (such as zucchini and pumpkins) are all botanically fruits, yet cooked as vegetables.

This dispute has led to legal speculation in the United States. In 1887, U.S. tariff laws that imposed a duty on vegetables, but not on fruits, caused the tomato's status to become a matter of legal importance. The U.S. Supreme Court settled this controversy on 10 May 1893, by declaring that the tomato is a vegetable, based on the popular definition that classifies vegetables by use, that they are generally served with dinner and not dessert (Nix v. Hedden (149 U.S. 304)).[69] The holding of this case applies only to the interpretation of the Tariff Act of 3 March 1883, and the court did not purport to reclassify the tomato for botanical or other purposes.

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.

Names[edit]

The scientific species epithet lycopersicum means "wolf peach", and comes from German werewolf myths. These legends said that deadly nightshade was used by witches and sorcerers in potions to transform themselves into werewolves, so the tomato's similar, but much larger, fruit was called the "wolf peach" when it arrived in Europe.[70]

The native Mexican tomatillo is tomate (in Nahuatl: tomātl, meaning 'fat water' or 'fat thing').[71][72][73][74][75][76] When Aztecs started to cultivate the Andean fruit, bigger and red, they called the new species xitomatl (or jitomates) (pronounced [ʃiːˈtomatɬ]), ('plump thing with navel' or 'fat water with navel'). After their conquest of Tenochtitlan, Spaniards exported tomatoes (jitomates) to the rest of the world with the name tomate, so numerous languages use forms of the word "tomato" (tomate) to refer to the red tomato instead of the green tomatillo.

The Italian word, pomodoro (from pomo d'oro "apple of gold") was borrowed into Polish, and via Russian, into several other languages. Similarly, the now rare German term Paradeisapfel (for "apple of paradise") is still heard in the form paradeiser in the Bavarian and Austrian dialects, and was borrowed into modern Hungarian, Slovenian and Serbian.

Pronunciation[edit]

The pronunciation of tomato differs in different English-speaking countries; the two most common variants are /təˈmɑːt/ tə-MAH-toh and /təˈmt/ tə-MAY-toh. Speakers from the British Isles and most of the Commonwealth typically say /təˈmɑːt/, while most North American speakers usually say /təˈmt/.

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. In this capacity, it has even become an American and British slang term: saying "/təˈmt/ /təˈmɑːt/" when presented with two choices can mean "What's the difference?" or "It's all the same to me."

Tomato records[edit]

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

The heaviest tomato ever, weighing 3.51 kg (7 lb 12 oz), was of the cultivar 'Delicious', grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986.[77][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.[78]

The massive "tomato tree" growing inside the Walt Disney World Resort's experimental greenhouses in Lake Buena Vista, Florida may be 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).[79] It yields 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 grows golf ball-sized tomatoes, which are served at Walt Disney World restaurants.

The world record-setting tomato tree can no longer be seen by guests along the Living With the Land boat ride at Epcot, as the tree developed a disease and was removed in April 2010 after approximately 13 months of life.[79]

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.[80]

Flavr Savr was the first commercially grown genetically engineered food licensed for human consumption.[81]

Cultural impact[edit]

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.[14]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  37. ^ "Selecting, Storing and Serving Ohio Tomatoes, HYG-5532-93". Ohio State University. Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
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  39. ^ Redenbaugh, K.; Hiatt, B.; Martineau, B.; Kramer, M.; Sheehy, R.; Sanders, R.; Houck, C.; Emlay, D. (1992). Safety Assessment of Genetically Engineered Fruits and Vegetables: A Case Study of the Flavr Savr Tomato. CRC Press. p. 288. 
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  46. ^ Valero MA, Vidal A, Burgos R, et al. (2011). "[Meta-analysis on the role of lycopene in type 2 diabetes mellitus]". Nutr Hosp (Meta-analysis) (in Spanish; Castilian) 26 (6): 1236–41. doi:10.1590/S0212-16112011000600007. PMID 22411366. 
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  49. ^ How To Cook. Cooks Illustrated (1 July 2008). Retrieved on 5 September 2013.
  50. ^ a b c Mcgee, H. (29 July 2009). "Accused, Yes, but Probably Not a Killer". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  51. ^ a b Barceloux, D. G. (2009). "Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Solanine Toxicity (Solanum tuberosum L., Solanum lycopersicum L.)". Disease-a-Month 55 (6): 391–402. doi:10.1016/j.disamonth.2009.03.009. PMID 19446683. 
  52. ^ a b "Executive Summary Chaconine and Solanine: 6.0 through 8.0". NIH. 
  53. ^ Brevitz, B. (2004). Hound Health Handbook: The Definitive Guide to Keeping your Dog Happy. Workman Publishing Company. p. 404. ISBN 076112795X. 
  54. ^ "CDC Probes Salmonella Outbreak, Health Officials Say Bacteria May Have Spread Through Some Form Of Produce". CBS News. 30 October 2006. Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
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Further reading[edit]

  • David Gentilcore. Pomodoro! A History of the Tomato in Italy (Columbia University Press, 2010), scholarly history
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Pumpkin tomato

A Pumpkin tomato is a large variety of tomato that has been cultivated since at least the early 1800s and thought to have originated in Peru and Northern Chile.[1]

Pumpkin tomatoes range in size from an apple up to the size of a pumpkin (hence the name), and can range from being spherical to slightly oblong in shape. The more oblong ones often share characteristics with Marmande tomatoes.[2] The Pumpkin tomato is regarded as a botanical variety of the cultivated berry, Solanum lycopersicum var. Cucurbita.[3] They are occasionally mixed up with peppers due to their size and the characteristic nitrogen stripes which cause the characteristic "pumpkin" ribs.

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]


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Notes

Comments

The ‘tomato’ is widely cultivated and ranks perhaps only second to the potato in food production worldwide. Several varieties are known. Eaten both raw or cooked. A source of vitamin C.
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Fruits are used as a vegetable.
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References and More Information

Commentary

Solanum lycopersicum can be distinguished from the wild tomatoes by its bright red or yellow ripe fruit, usually autogamous flowers with the styles always included in the staminal column and its copious, long, trichomes that are often > 3 mm long. The only other tomato species with red, yellow or orange fruits are S. pimpinellifolium (with much smaller fruit and stellate, rather than pentagonal flowers) and the Galápagos endemics S. cheesmaniae and S. galapagense (with orange fruit and foliage smelling of limes). Solanum lycopersicum has been recorded on all continents except Antarctica, and is a widespread escape wherever it is cultivated, although in temperate climates it rarely survives the freezing conditions of winter. The species originated from western South America, but whether or not it ever existed in the wild or instead was derived by human selection from the closely related S. pimpinellifolium will be impossible to ascertain given its long use and wide transportation all over the world. The observation (see discussion of S. pimpinellifolium) that the two species hybridize in northern Peru and southern Ecuador lends some support to Brezhnev’s (1958, 1964) suggestion that the two are conspecific. Despite this possibility, we retain the two taxa as distinct species. Both names are widely used in the agricultural literature, and the two species are relatively easy to distinguish in the absence of hybridization. The use of fine molecular techniques is currently being developed for isolation of characters of breeding importance in elite breeding lines in the cultivated tomato as the genetic base has narrowed (Zamir 2001; Yang et al. 2004). These techniques may help to identify genes of potential utility in examining the history of cultivation and the relationships of these elite breeding lines to heritage and semi-feral cultivars.

Most previous workers in tomatoes have suggested that the cultivated tomato was derived from small-fruited forms called by many authors “var. cerasiforme”. Research into the genetic control of fruit shape and size in tomatoes has shown that the incredible variation in fruit shape seen in cultivars of S. lycopersicum is controlled by a very few tightly linked loci (e.g. van der Knaap et al. 2002, 2004) and that the small-fruited forms are not ancestral, but instead a mixture of wild and cultivated forms (Nesbitt & Tanksley 2002). Fruit shape in S. lycopersicum is a very interesting character state with which to explore the effects of few genes on broadly divergent morphology, and is being actively studied, especially using newly developed genomics tools.

Brezhnev’s (1958, 1964) classification of S. lycopersicum is replete with subspecific taxa. Brezhnev attempted to describe all details of the cultivars known to him. He classified escaped plants with smallish fruits as “subsp. subspontaneum” (a nomen nudum), indicating his belief that these plants represented feral or less developed forms of the cultivated tomato. He recognized six varieties of this subspecies, vars. “cerasiforme”, “pyriforme”, “pruniforme”, “elongatum”, humboldtii and “succenturiatum”, most of which are nomina nuda. These varieties were then seen to “rejoin” genetically to give rise to two geographical groups (Mexican and Peruvian). The large-fruited, highly morphologically aberrant forms were classified as “subsp. cultum” (again a nomen nudum), within which he recognized several “grex concultorum”, each defined geographically (“australioeuropeum”, “occidentalieuropeum”, “australirossicum”, “mediirossicum”, borealirossicum” and “borealiamericanum”). Each “grex concultorum” contained 3-7 cultivars with Russian common names (such as ‘Comet’ and ‘Korol Gumbert’). As with “subsp. spontaneum”, the “grex concultorum” were depicted in his diagram as derived from an amalgamation of all three varieties of “subsp. cultum”. His classification was an attempt to bring order to the huge number of tomato cultivars then grown in the Soviet Union, linking them to their supposed places of origin. Although Brezhnev’s work has been largely neglected by tomato workers in the United States and western Europe, it will be essential for anyone interested in examining the identities of cultivars and heritage varieties from that time. Khrapalova (2001) gave a complicated series of varietal and subvarietal names to many of these variants, but none of her names was validly published.

In general, S. lycopersicum only persists as a feral plant in subtropical or tropical regions; frost kills the plants and the commonly cultivated forms behave as annuals, although they can persist for several years in the absence of frosts. Human transportation of plant material, both intentional and accidental, accounts for the wide distribution of S. lycopersicum.

Solanum pseudolycopersicum has sometimes been considered a synonym of S. peruvianum owing to Jacquin’s description, indicating it to have hairy, yellow fruits (“Baccae in eadam cerasi magnitudem raro superant; suntque globosae, villosae, flavescentes…”; Jacquin 1770-1771: 4), although Luckwill (1943: 23) recognized S. pseudolycopersicum as a synonym of S. lycopersicum (his L. esculentum subsp. galeni). The plate in Hortus Vindobensis (Jacquin 1770-1771), however, is clearly of S. lycopersicum, with ebracteate inflorescences and 3-foliate sympodia, and we suggest it is the best element to use as the lectotype of S. pseudolycopersicum.

Lycopersicum spurium Link is perhaps a new combination based on Gmelin’s (1791) superfluous name Solanum spurium; Link’s protologue, however, makes no reference to Gmelin’s work or to the name “Solanum spurium”.

Dunal thought that Blanco (Fl. filip. 133. 1835) had misapplied the name Solanum lycopersicum L. to an undescribed species of tomatoes and supplied the name Lycopersicon philippinarum. He explicitly stated that L. philippinarum was not based on specimens seen by him and added the query “An L. cerasiforme?” We neotypify L. philippinarum with the Kew duplicate of Merrill 14, which bears a label with a detailed discussion of the identity of Blanco’s concept of the tomato in the Philippines.

We have not designated neotypes for the varieties described by Alefeld (1866) based on fruit color and shape variation in cultivated plants. These names, though validly published, are better regarded as cultivar names and treated under the International Code of Nomenclature of Cultivated Plants (Brickell et al. 2004). Alefeld (1866) did not designate any specimens, nor did he specify the exact region in which these particular cultivars grew.

Suitable type material for some of the subspecific names coined by Russian tomato taxonomists could not be found at WIR; we did not propose neotypes in the hopes that future work on the relationships of cultivars will bring suitable type specimens or illustrations to light.

The name Lycopersicon solanum Medik. listed in IPNI and earlier in Index Kewensis is a mistake in data entry; in Medikus’ Beobachten (1783) the name occurs not on page 245 as indicated in IPNI, but on page 383 (as Solanum lycopersicum) and 384 (as S. lycopersicum) with an attached figure of the anther cone (Fig. 38 of Medikus 1783). Medikus was not coining a new name, nor did he write Lycopersicon solanum.

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: The name Lycopersicon esculentum is nomenclaturally conserved for this plant, over the name Lycopersicon lycopersicum (and spelling veriants thereof), ICBN, Tokyo, 1994, p. 329. LEM 18Jan95. (ICBN, St. Louis (2000), p. 389.)

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