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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 5/15/2013)

Flora Data (Last Modified On 5/15/2013)
Genus Lycopersicon Mill.
PlaceOfPublication Gard. Dict., abr. ed. 1754.
Note TYPE: L. esculentum Mill.
Synonym Lycomela Heister ex Fabr., Enum. Meth. P1. 194. 1759, not seen; ed. 2. 348. 1787. Lycopersicum Hill., Veg. Syst. 9: 32. 1765. Amatula Med., Malvan = Fam. 106-108. 1787. Psolanum Neck., Elem. 2: 60, No. 707. 1790. Licopersicum Neck., Elem. 2: 61, No. 708. 1790. Solanum L. sect. Lycopersicon von Wettst. in Engler & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam. 4(3b): 24. 1891. Solanopsis Bbrner, Abh. Naturwiss. Vereine Bremen 21: 282. 1913, pro parte.
Description Unarmed sprawling ephemeral or perennial herbs, glandular or viscid and aromatic; stems soft and weak, in a few species woody near the base, to 1 m long. Leaves mostly pinnately lobed or divided, smaller interstitial leaflets often present between the major leaflets or on the petiole, the leaflets sessile or stalked, toothed, lobed or entire, the leaves sometimes (mostly on juveniles) simple and entire; petioles elongate; minor leaves mostly present and conspicuous, some- times in pairs and appearing stipule-like. Inflorescences several, lateral, each a several-flowered raceme or panicle, the peduncle mostly unbranched or once branched near the base; pedicels slender, articulating above the base. Flowers 5-merous or mostly 6-9-merous in cultivated species; calyx divided almost to the base, the lobes lanceolate, densely pubescent but glabrescent, accrescent and the lobes reflexed in fruit; corolla yellow, greenish or white, rotate-stellate with a short tube and lanceolate lobes which approximate the calyx lobes in length; stamens equal, erect, the filaments short, the anthers narrowly oblong or tapering to a point, coherent into a tube by intermeshed lateral hairs and densely pubescent within the tube, each anther with a sterile, conical, terminal appendage, dehiscent introrsely by longitudinal lateral slits; ovary 2-loculed, the ovules on large axile placentae which often (in cultivated species) ramify and divide the fruit into several or many locules, the stigma included or exserted from the antheridial column. Fruit a juicy berry, glabrous or pubescent, variously colored or white, mostly edible; seeds laterally much compressed, glabrous or pilose, the embryo large, coiled around the periphery of the seed.
Habit herbs
Distribution A genus of six species and several varieties centered in the coastal region of western South America from Colombia to northern Chile, with two species in the, Galapagos Islands.
Note One species, the cultivated tomato, is an important food crop in many countries and it is naturalised in a number of subtropical and tropical areas. Lycopersicon is a close relative of subg. Potatoe of Solanum, but despite the affinity of Lycopersicon and this section of Solanum, there are some important differences. The yellow flower color, appendaged coherent anthers which dehisce longitudinally and the alkaloid chemistry are different in Lycopersicon. Tomatidin alkaloids of Lycopersicon are replaced by solanine compounds in the genus Solanum. There is ecological distinction too, for tomatoes are essentially lowland plants but occur in mountainous areas where there is no frost, while potatoes are upper elevation plants which frequently grow in areas of prolonged frost. There appears to be a distinct evolutionary gap between the species now placed in Lycopersicon and those considered to belong to Solanum, and the gap is of generic magnitude. When such gaps are identified and documented within Solanum, it may be desirable to extract other genera from that large and diverse genus. The genus takes its name (lyco =wolf; persicon = peach) from a fancied similarity to a plant named Lycopersicon by the early Greek, Galen, ca. 130-200 A.D. Plants of this genus were unknown to the early Greeks.
Common tomato tomatero
Common tomate
Reference Luckwill, L. C. The genus Lycopersicon. Aberdeen Univ. Stud. 120. 1943. Muller, C. H. A revision of the genus Lycopersicon. U. S. D. A. Misc. Pub. 382. 1940. Luckwill, L.C. The taxonomy and distribution of the genus Lycopersicon. Natl. Hort. Mag. 19: 157-160. 1940.
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