Tomato

tomatoThe tomato is the edible, often red berry-type fruit of the nightshade Solanum lycopersicum, commonly known as a tomato plant. The tomato is consumed in diverse ways, including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes, sauces, salads, and drinks. The English word tomato comes from the Spanish word, tomate, derived from the Nahuatl (Aztec language) word tomatl. It first appeared in print in 1595.

The tomato belongs to the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The species originated in Central and South America 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 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)

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

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

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.

On the other hand, borage is thought to actually repel the tomato hornworm moth. (Source: Wikipedia)

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