Monday, February 9, 2009

Pear Tomatoes

Plant exceptionally vigorous, with comparatively few long, stout stems inclined to ascend. Leaves numerous, broad, flat, with a distinct bluish-green color noticeable, even in the cotyledons. Fruit abundant, borne in short branched or straight clusters of five to ten fruits. It is perfectly smooth, without sutures, and of the shape of a long, slender-necked pear, not over an inch in transverse by 1½ inches in longitudinal diameter. When the stock is pure the fruit retains this form very persistently. The production of egg-shaped or other forms is a sure indication of impure stock. They are bright red, dark yellow, or light yellowish white in color, two-celled, with very distinct central placenta and comparatively few and large seeds. The fruit is inclined to ripen unevenly, the neck remaining green when the rest of the fruit is quite ripe. It is less juicy than that of most of our garden sorts but of a mild and pleasant flavor. This is considered, by many, to be simply a garden variety, but I am inclined to the belief that it is a distinct species and that the contrary view comes from the study of the impure and crossed stocks resulting from crosses between the true Pear tomato and garden sorts which are frequently sold by seedsmen as pear-shaped. Many garden sorts—like the Plum (Fig. 8), the Egg, the Golden Nugget, Vick's Criterion, etc.—are known to have originated from crosses of the Pear and I think that most, if not all, the garden sorts in which the longitudinal diameter of the fruit is greater than its transverse diameter owe this form to crosses with L. pyriforme.

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