Bucknell University professors discover new tomato plant species

If you spend five minutes with Chris Martine, you'll know how much he loves plants. That's why the Bucknell University biology professor was ecstatic when he and his colleague Dr. Tanisha Williams discovered a new species of tomato plant. The discovery was made on a 2019 trip to Australia. The group was in the outback looking for interesting and unusual plants.

"One of these things that's part of a group of plants known as the bush tomatoes that I study. When I saw it, I thought that doesn't fit any species that anybody's described before. We started checking it out and collecting specimens, and it turns out it's a new species to science," Chris Martine said.

Martine and Williams collected some seeds, hoping they could get them to grow inside Bucknell University's greenhouse. They did. "We ended up with this collection of this new species growing in our greenhouse, and that allowed my collaborator Dr. Tanisha Williams and a student named John Hayes to do all of the measurements that allowed us to prove to the scientific community that this was indeed a new species," Martine said.

They named the plant the Garrarnawun Bush Tomato, and Martine says it's a distant cousin of the eggplant. It grows in dry, rocky areas and is loaded with prickles. "I immediately sort-of was like, that's kind-of different. Let's bring it back here and see if that holds true. And it did," Martine said. Martine says the next step is to study and protect the plant.

Read more at msn.com

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