The tomato is native to South America. Genetic evidence suggests that tomatoes evolved from the small green fruit trees common in the Peruvian highlands. A species called Solanum lycopersicum was transported to Mexico, where it was grown and consumed by the inhabitants of Central America. The first tomato to be domesticated was probably a yellow fruit, similar to the cherry tomato, grown by the Aztecs in central Mexico. The word tomato comes from the Nahuatl word tomatl, meaning swollen fruit.
The Spanish explorer Cortés may have been the first to bring the small yellow tomato to Europe after he captured the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan in Mexico in 1521. Christopher Columbus was able to bring them to Europe. Europe even earlier, but he didn’t make it. Scientists first discussed tomatoes in 1544. The Italian physician and botanist Pietro Andrea Mattioli named the new fruit pomo d’oro or golden apple.
The Aztecs and other peoples of the region used tomatoes in their cooking, and they were cultivated in southern Mexico and probably in many other areas around 500 B.C. A variant of a small fruit native to Mesoamerica is thought to be the direct ancestor of the now-cultivated tomato.
Morphological characteristics of tomato plants
Roots: Strong taproots, 0.5-1 m deep. The taproot is often interrupted when the plant has secondary roots, and the secondary root system is very well developed and widely distributed. The depth or shallowness of the root system and the strength or weakness of its growth are related to the degree of branching and development of the above-ground parts. Therefore, if we want to have an ideal root system, we only need to prune the branches and crimp the top.
Stem: Round fleshy stem covered with many hairs, when the tree is large, the trunk becomes wood. Based on the ability to grow and branch, tomatoes can be divided into 4 different types.
Infinite type. The stem is more than 2 m long and the first inflorescence is on the 9th-11th leaves, then the next flower cluster after 3-4 times. This form has the potential for high yields due to long-term harvesting.
Limited form. Stems are erect, the first inflorescence is on the 7-9th leaves, then 1-2 leaves for the next inflorescence, until 4-6 inflorescences appear. At the top, the tree stops growing. This form of tomato produces early and concentrated fruit.
Semi-determinate form. Similar to the limited form, but the number of inflorescences of this type is about 8-10 more.
Bushy form. Tomatoes with very short internodes, strong buds, few flower clusters and concentrated fruit, suitable for dense planting and mechanical picking.
Leaves: feathery compound leaves
Flowers: Long flowering period. Flowers grow in clusters on the stems, usually 6-12 flowers each. Tomatoes are not attractive to insects because they secrete many toxic secretions, and pollen grains are heavy, so cross-pollination is difficult to occur.
Fruit: Juicy, with fruit shapes ranging from round to elongated and divided into 2 or more chambers in the fruit.
Seeds: small, narrow, hairy seeds, light yellow in color, slightly darker.