Tomato tree

mel turner mturner at
Mon Apr 1 04:02:32 EST 1996

In article <4jni61$ivg at> raiar at (Gary V. Deutschmann, Sr.) writes:
><sjohnson at> wrote:
>>       I recently saw an ad. for the amazing New Zealand tomato tree.  Has 
>>anyone heard of it, or is it just a crock?
>Oh, it exists, not a bad price either.  Trouble is, they sure don't
>taste like tomatoes, and they do freeze out in the winter in such
>I tried to find the botanical name to no avail.
>I am just guessing here, but I assume it came to be, similar to the
>way a bed of ivy, on occasion will form an ivy tree, and was
>cultivated from there and hybridized or whatever to get the product
>they are currently marketing as a tomatoe tree.

No the so-called tree tomato is a distantly-related plant of the same family 
[_Cyphomandra betacea_ in the Solanaceae;  actually the latest  taxonomic 
trend is to put both the tree tomato and the true tomatoes  _Lycopersicon_ 
back into the huge  genus _Solanum_ along with the potato, eggplant, and  a 
thousand or two other species].  It is native to South America, but cultivated 
commercially in NZ;  another name that was coined for it is "tamarillo" [you 
may occasionally see them for sale in supermarkets].   An appreciation of the 
fruit might come easier if one completely forgets the idea that they are 
supposed to be anything like tomatoes.   A rank-growing, short-lived  small 
tree that doesn't tolerate frost, it might bear fruit only in the second year 
from seed...

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