Seeds Sprouting Inside Tomato

Our mystery last week had to do with seeds.

mystery-tomato

The brown bumps on the outside of the tomato were the clue.

tomato-seeds-sprouting-inside

You might have been able to guess if I had shown you this view instead. Do you see the stems and green bits under the tomato skin?

tomato-seeds-sprouting-peeled

Peeling back the tomato covering, those are tomato seedlings sprouting inside the tomato fruit.

tomato-seeds-sprouting-opened

If you open it up to the center, you can see the seeds are sprouting from inside the tomato. It wasn’t rotten or mushy at all. All the tomatoes in this cluster that I had purchased from the grocery store had sprouting seeds.

It turns out that it isn’t all that uncommon for certain cultivars of tomatoes to do this, particularly the “tomatoes-on-the-vine” variety from the grocery store.

The first part of this video explains it is called vivipary when the seeds sprout inside the fruit, usually when still attached to the mother plant.

 

We also regularly see seeds sprouting inside our pink grapefruit towards the end of the season.

grapefruit-seed-sprouting-in-fruit

These are from fruit still hanging on the tree.

grapefruit-seed-sprouting-inside

Can you see the long root?

 

Have you ever opened a fruit and found a seed sprouting?

5 Comments

  1. Roberta

    Very cool. Thanks for letting us know. Are you going to hold onto one of the tomatoes to see if the seed will sprout in it?

  2. Pam

    After a year, might just eat them! I’ll see what I get. But, I also broke off a 5″ suckered and stuck the stem into the same pot. It is showing signs of survival also. I didn’t do anything but make a hole and stick it in the dirt. Maybe it’s a new immortal?!?

  3. nina

    So nobody who ate tomato sprouts ever returned on this conversation to confirm whether they were alive or not… Anyway, I ate half a sprouted tomato because it was the last vegetable in my fridge, I had no clue it is toxic. So to make a pre-mortem contribution and solve the question of whether 20 grams of tomato sprouts might kill a 65kg human or not, I take the vow to confirm tomorrow if I’m still breathing the same air of planet Earth. Goodnight all !

  4. Pam

    I’m very much alive and had no ill effects from eating sprouted tomatoes. Now, it’s not like the seeds had started growing into full plants or had taken over the fruit yet! I imagine that wouldn’t taste very good as the fruit would have changed chemically as the seeds absorb and grow. But, in small amounts, they seem to be fine. Weird, but fine.

  5. Roberta

    Thank you so much for reporting back on your investigation. My husband has also consumed tomatoes with a few sprouting seeds inside (like you describe) and he didn’t have any ill effects either. He also mentioned it changed the taste a bit.

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