US (TX): Carrollton man discovers vivipary tomato

Gary Anguish could hardly believe his eyes when he walked into the kitchen of his Carrollton home last week and found green sprouts growing out of a tomato on the counter. Anguish said he and his wife purchased the tomato about two weeks ago with plans to eat it in the near future. “It sat there longer than I expected, but it wasn’t soft and rotten,” he said while visiting The Messenger office with the specimen.

A visit to the world wide web led a Messenger reporter to the University of Connecticut College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources website, where an article brought to light an interesting term: Vivipary, a Latin word for birth, and a brief science lesson.

Vivipary is the term for plants that begin growing while still inside or attached to the mother plant. It is common in certain varieties of tomatoes, peppers, apples, pears, and some citrus. The article explained the spouts started as seeds of the fruit that began germinating inside the tomato.

The author, Carol Quich, stated Vivipary happens when the hormone controlling the seed dormancy is exhausted or runs out, letting the seed grow in the moist environment inside the fruit. The warm, moist environment is perfect for germinating seeds to grow. If a tomato was left uncut, Quich said the sprouts would eventually poke through the skin of the now decomposing tomato, which was the case in Anguish’s tomato.

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