Like Turducken for Vegetarians
A couple months ago I was slicing up a store-bought tomato for a salad when I noticed the seeds inside looked darker than usual. Upon closer inspection, I realized that they had germinated and were growing inside the tomato! It was like turducken for vegetarians.
I decided not to eat them because everything besides the fruit of tomato plant is poisonous. Strange, but true. They’re in the same family (Solanum) as other notable poisonous plants such as Brugmansia and Datura (aka Nightshade and Angel’s Trumpet).
But like any good gardener, I couldn’t just toss them out. So I took a couple and put them in a small pot. Here they are, two months later, starting to look a lot like a tomato plant.
So what happened here? I’m no botanist, but I do know how to use a search engine, and the consensus is that there’s a gel sack around each seed in the tomato fruit that contains a germination inhibitor. This is the transparent stuff inside a tomato. The idea is, this inhibitor keeps the seeds from germinating until they’re on the ground where they can grow.
In this case, that inhibitor failed and the seed started to grow inside the tomato. This apparently can happen in fruit that’s kept cold for a long time, as this one may have been, but it’s a rarity. If my little plantlet makes it to fruiting stage (also a rarity for me), I’ll see if the same thing happens.