Despite the fact that popular usage renders it a vegetable for most practical purposes, the tomato is technically a fruit. The juicy berry grows from many varieties of Lycopersicon esculentum and L. pimpinelli folium, both of which are plants classified as members of the nightshade family. Similar to belladonna and many other types of nightshades, tomato plants are toxic, and few were brave enough to attempt to eat the fruit they bore when the plants was first introduced to Europe by the Spanish (who discovered them during explorations of South America), due to fear they were also poisonous. The Italians were among the first Europeans to recognize the fruit as food source, it soon becoming a staple of their diet. In the United States, the tomato was much slower to catch on, not becoming a widely eaten item in the country until the twentieth century.

© 1995-2022 by Michael W. Davidson and The Florida State University. All Rights Reserved. No images, graphics, software, scripts, or applets may be reproduced or used in any manner without permission from the copyright holders. Use of this website means you agree to all of the Legal Terms and Conditions set forth by the owners.
This website is maintained by our
Graphics & Web Programming Team
in collaboration with Optical Microscopy at the
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
Last modification: Monday, Jul 02, 2018 at 04:22 PM
Access Count Since September 19, 1995: 26611
Microscopes provided by:
Visit the Nikon website. Visit the Olympus Microscopy Resource Center website.