Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Tomatoes: Origins and Development

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_2191

Basic Species Information

Although Linnaeus (1753) classified tomato as Solanum lycopersicum, the taxonomy of tomato has been subject to great debate. Various alternative taxonomic classifications have been proposed, principally as Lycopersicon esculentum, which is still in common usage (e.g., Doebley et al. 2006). Multiple genetic studies now unequivocally confirm the tomato as belonging to the genus Solanum. Confusingly, some researchers split tomatoes into the weedy S. lycopersicum var. cerasiforme and the cultivated S. lycopersicum var. lycopersicum, whereas others refer solely to Solanum lycopersicum. The latter classification is followed here.

Tomatoes are one of the most significant, in terms of production, crop plants in the world. Although generally considered to be a fruit, the tomato is also classified as a vegetable. Tomatoes are rich sources of several nutrients and vitamins. Tomatoes are herbaceous perennials, although in many growing environments they behave as annuals;...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Archaeological Science Programs, School of Archaeology and Anthropology, ANU College of Arts and Social SciencesThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia