This soft-stemmed, spreading plant up to 6 ft (1.8 m) high has
strong-smelling, deeply lobed leaves and yellow flowers followed by
soft succulent fruit.
The fruit are generally red or yellow and vary considerably in size
and shape among the numerous cultivars.
At harvest time, vine-ripened fruit are definitely the best.
Among the most widely grown traditional red cultivars are Beefsteak,
tall, with large rounded fruit, Grosse Lisse, very sweet with large,
soft fruit, and Rouge de Marmande with large, ribbed fruit. Yellow
Pear yields big crops of 2 in (5 cm), golden-yellow, pear-shaped
fruit. Red Pear is similar except that the fruit are red. The
elongated Roma tomatoes, popular in Italy, include Super Roma and
Plumito. A novel group in gardens of the West are the eastern
European black tomatoes, an example being Black Russian. Cherry
tomatoes, sometimes designated by the name Lycopersicon esculentum
var. cerasiforme, bear long decorative strings of cherry-size red,
orange or yellow fruit.
Another small-fruited species L. pimpinellifolium is sometimes
cultivated and has been used by plant breeders in recent years to
introduce new genes to cherry tomatoes.
Cultivation: Tomatoes require a long, warm growing season.
Plant in fertile, well-drained soil .
Position stakes before planting and set plants about 24 in (60 cm)
Keep soil moist but not too wet and feed regularly while fruit are
A variety of pests and diseases attack tomatoes, and disease
resistance is one of the main aims of breeders.