Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) originated in South America and while botanically a fruit, is considered a vegetable. The leaves are in fact poisonous, although the fruit is not. Tomatoes are one of the most common garden fruits worldwide.
Tomatoes were not grown in England until the 1590s. By the 18th century, tomatoes were widely consumed in Britain.
The tomato is now grown worldwide for its edible fruits, with thousands of varieties having been selected with varying fruit sizes. There are around 7,500 tomato varieties grown for various purposes.
The poor taste and lack of sugar in modern garden and commercial tomato varieties resulted from breeding tomatoes to ripen uniformly red. Prior to introduction of this trait, most tomatoes produced more sugar during ripening, were sweeter and had more flavour.
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