The tomato fruit evolved from the cherry tomato which grows wild in the Andean region of South America. It was first domesticated by Mexico and then Europe.
The scientific name for tomato is Solanum Lycopersicum. It belongs to the deadly nightshade (Solanaceae) family of flowering plants. The major class Dicotyledon, in which a flowering plant whose seed typically has two embryotic leaves; is where the tomato plant is from. Solanum is the genus group for the tomato. It is one of 1500-2000 different species in the genus.
Growth Form and Appearance
Tomato plants have a taproot system, which is basically made up of a central large root, which grows deep into the soil.
As the plants are dicots, they grow as a series of green, scrambling outward branches (or vines). Tomato vines are covered with fine, short hairs thus facilitating the process of turning into roots where in contact with suitable conditions, such as moisture.
The tomato plant has compound leaves; which is made up of leaflets distributed across the leaf rachi. The small green leaves have lateral veins running through it.
When a bud is formed, the petals are protected by the sepals as it grows. As the first stem aborts (and the others follow), the lateral buds take over. This results in a flower being formed. Flowers are about an inch in diameter across; pale yellow in colour, with 5 pointed lobes on the corolla, which come from a cyme of 3-12.
The flower is either fertilised or abscised. The fruit comes from the ovary of the flower. The first stage of development is the cell division – it becomes enlarged. From 2-3 weeks there is slow growth with cells enlarging even more, and it rapidly speeds up in weeks 3-5 as it matures.
Fruits come in a variety of colours from red, yellow, orange, purple and green. Sizing also depends on cultivation methods and plant variety. Generally speaking, cherry tomatoes being 1-2cm in size; the globe tomato 5-6cm in diameter;...