mturner at acpub.duke.edu
Mon Apr 1 04:02:32 EST 1996
In article <4jni61$ivg at news1.inlink.com> raiar at inlink.com (Gary V. Deutschmann, Sr.) writes:
><sjohnson at biosci.mbp.missouri.edu> 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
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