The Latin name of tomato is Lycopersicon esculentum Mill., member of the family Solanaceae. It is a perennial, often grown outdoors in temperate climates as an annual, typically reaching to 1-3m (3 to 10 ft) in height, with a weak, woody stem that often vines over other plants.

Tomato has become a major world food crop in less than a century. The tomato, considered a vegetable but actually a fruit, is native to the Americas. It is believed to have been domesticated in Mexico, where a variant of the wild cherry tomato was brought into cultivation as early as 700 AD. The name tomato is in fact derived from the Mayan word "xtomatl".

When the Spanish Conquistadores first introduced the tomato to Europe, in the mid-16th century, it was grown as an ornamental plant. Once discovered to be edible, however, it was soon adopted into European cuisines.

The tomato has come a long way, not only in distance from its center of origin, but also in terms of varietal improvement, enhanced storage qualities and processing techniques. Today, numerous varieties, some transgenic, are cultivated in all regions of the world. Tomato cultivars vary widely in their resistance to disease. Modern hybrids focus on improving disease resistance against the most common diseases that include verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, nematodes, tobacco mosaic virus, and alternaria. Some common tomato pests are cutworms, aphids, cabbage loopers, whiteflies, tomato fruitworms, and flea beetles.

Very large quantities of tomatoes are processed and preserved in a variety of forms. Much of the volume of processed tomatoes in packaged as bulk tomato paste and used to make products such as juice, sauces and soups. (FAO, 2000)

Such versatility coupled with a growing demand for the fresh fruits, has pushed the development of tomato as one of the main crops of the century.

More information about tomato can be found in the Tomato Integrated Pest Management: An Ecological Guide.

For more information about the performance of tomato cultivars in relation to agro-ecological conditions, cultivation practices, the occurrence of pests and diseases and timing of the production, search the FAO data base at:

Click the list below for more crop specific information

  1. General Information: Origin, distribution etc.
  2. - Tomato History
    - History of Tomatoes
    - 36 Amazing Benefits of Tomatoes for Skin, Hair and Health

  3. Production / Productivity
  4. Tomato pests / diseases
  5. Post Harvest: