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Is Tomato a Citrus Fruit?

By David Harris
Tomatoes are not citrus fruit.
Pete Starman/Stockbyte/Getty Images

While there can be confusion about whether tomatoes are a fruit or a vegetable, they're definitely not a citrus fruit. Unlike citrus fruits that grow on perennial trees, tomatoes grow on much shorter vine plants. Though technically perennial plants, tomatoes are most often cultivated as annuals.

Identification

Citrus fruit trees include oranges, lemons, grapefruit and tangerines. All citrus fruits have inedible skins that you must peel away to get to the pulpy sections on the interior. Citrus fruits are also highly fragrant. Tomatoes, however, are part of the nightshade family, which includes the potato and the eggplant. Although many people think of tomatoes as vegetables, they are technically fruit, according to Cooking Louisiana.

Geography

Tomatoes grow best in regions with hot, sunny summers. Tomatoes do not tolerate frost and stop producing fruit when it gets cold. Subtropical citrus trees, on the other hand, need a warm climate year round to survive.

Time Frame

Tomatoes are relatively quick growers when compared to citrus fruits. While tomatoes will go from seed to fruit production in a matter of months, citrus trees can take a few years to establish themselves.

 

About the Author

 

David Harris is a writer living in Portland, Ore. He currently is the editor-in-chief of the online magazine Spectrum Culture. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College.