Lycopersicon lycopersicum L. - Tomato

Taxonomic position.

Family Solanaceae Juss., genus Lycopersicon Hill


Lycopersicon esculentum Mill., Lycopersicon pomum amoris Moench. Meth. Pl (1794), Solanum lycopersicum L. Sp. pl I edit (1753)

Biology and morphology.

Perennial (annual in cultivation) plant. Taproot; most roots reach depths of 30-50 cm. Stalk upright or climbing, reaching heights of 1.5-3 m (up to 8 m), with glandular pubescence and a strong smell. Side shoots grow from axils. Leaves alternate, broken-pinnate, 10-35 cm in length and 8-28 cm in width, segments whole or pinnatepartite, different in shape and in size. Inflorescences (a curl or a brush) auxiliary or apart from leaves. Flowers are up to 2 cm wide, bisexual and diclinous. Corolla is chartreuse or bright yellow, with 5-9 petals equal to calyx in size. Stamens have large anther, surrounding column in the form of a cone. It is self-pollinated. The ovary has two or more sections. Fruits are juicy, fleshy berries of 1-10 cm in diameter, various shapes and weights, red, yellow or nearly white, smooth. Seeds are triangular-reniform, flattened, grayish yellow, pubescent, about 1.5-2-3 mm in diameter. The weight of 200-250 seeds is 1 g. Various types differ according to stalk, leaf, growth form, structure of inflorescences, flowers, fruits and other biological features. Different types include the early-ripening (vegetative period of 100-110 days), middle-ripening (111-120 days) and late-ripening (more than 120 days). The most popular early-ripening types within the territory of the former USSR include: Skorospelka 1165, Talalikhin, Gruntovji gribovski 323, Pushkinski, Alpatieva 905, etc. Most popular among the middle-ripening types include: Budenovka, Birjuchekutski 67, Byelorussian 225, Chudo rinka 670, and Shtambovji Alpatieva. Most popular among the late-ripening types include: Kuban, Pritchard, and Marglob. 2n=24


The wild tomato grows on a narrow strip along the Pacific coast of South America. Beginning at the end of the 18th century, the tomato was mentioned as a food plant in the southern territories of Russia (Crimea, Georgia, and the Lower Volga region). By the middle of the 19th century, it was widely distributed. In the European part of the former USSR, the area of cultivation covers 65 degrees of northern latitude; in the Asian part, it covers 61 degrees of northern latitude. The area of distribution encompasses about 370 thousand hectares.


In open ground, the species is cultivated mainly as seedlings (in southern areas, sprouts appear after 30-35 days; in northern areas, sprouts appear after 70-80 days). It is thermophilic; seeds sprout at temperatures no lower than 15°C. For cultivation of sprouts, the average temperature needs to be 15-18°C; optimum daytime temperatures are 18-24°C; optimum nighttime temperatures are 10-12°C. During frosts, all types perish. It is a moisture-loving plant (especially during the period of fruit ripening). It is photophilous. Demands fertile, moist soil, but does not withstand close proximity of subsoil waters. Fruits ripen 45-60 days after flowering. Crop harvested during as fruit matures. Productivity reaches 17-50 tons per hectare.

Economic value.

It is one of the major vegetable plants. Fruits contain 1.6-6.4 (8)% sugar, apple and citric acids, fibers, vitamins C (14-94 mg/100g), A, D, E, carotene, and salts of iron, phosphorus, potassium. Used fresh, it is also processed by the canning industry into juices, puree, sauce, and salted and pickled vegetables. It is a valuable dietary product.

Reference citations:

Brezhnev, D.D., ed. 1958. Cultural flora of the USSR. V. 20. Vegetable nightshade family. Moscow-Leningrad: Sel.hozgiz. 530 p.
Gavrish S.F., Galkina S.N. 1990. A tomato: cultivation and processing. Moscow: Rosagropromizdat. 192 p.
Gran.ko I.B., ed. 1997. Tomatoes on individual fields. Pavlovsk: VIR. 94 p.
Matveev V.P., Rubtsov M.I. 1985. Vegetable-growing. Moscow: Agropromizdat. 432 p.
Pleshkov K.K. 1991. Vegetable growing of the open and closed ground. Kiev: Vyshzha shkola. 352 p.
Tokarev V.V., ed. 1986. Tomato, pepper, aubergine. Novosibirsk: Knizhnoe. 126 p.
Vehov V.N., Gubanov I.A., Lebedeva G.F. 1978. Cultural plants of the USSR. Moscow: Mysl.. 336 p.
Zhukovskij P.M. 1971. Cultural plants and their relatives. Leningrad: Kolos. 751 p.

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