What the heck is a TomTato?
This practical plant isn't genetically engineered — it's a successful graft that's been in the works for about 15 years.
Wed, Oct 02, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Want to make your own fries and whip up a side of ketchup? You can prepare both with the produce from the TomTato plant.
The hybrid plant looks like a tomato plant and can produce up to 500 cherry tomatoes, but pull its roots from the soil and you'll find potatoes growing as well.
The TomTato isn't the result of genetic engineering — it’s simply the top of a cherry tomato plant and the bottom of a white potato plant that have been grafted together.
Grafting involves joining two plants by slicing their stems and securing them together so they'll naturally bind into one plant. The process is most successful when the plants are from the same species.
British horticulture company Thompson and Morgan has been working to graft the two plants for more than 15 years.
"It has been very difficult to achieve because the tomato stem and the potato stem have to be the same thickness for the graft to work," company director Paul Hansford told the BBC.
Similar plants have been creating through grafting, but according to a video produced by Thompson and Morgan, the produce was lacking in taste. The TomTato’s fruits are said to be "sugary yet tangy."
The TomTato is the first such plant to be produced on a commercial scale, but a similar plant known as the Potato Tom recently became available in New Zealand.
TomTato plants can be purchases from the Thompson and Morgan website for about $24 (U.S.).
The plant lasts for one season and can be grown indoors or outdoors. Delivery is scheduled for May 2014.
Learn more about the TomTato plant in the video below.
Related on MNN: