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How Are Tomato Seed Dispersed?

Image by, courtesy of Jose Oquendo

Tomato plants are now a staple in the home garden. Tomatoes are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene helps ward off many cancers.


Tomato plants originally come from South and Central America along the Andes Mountains. Wildlife readily dispersed tomato seeds throughout countries such as Bolivia, Chile and Peru.


Tomato seeds can be dispersed by birds and foraging animals. Animals excrete the undigested seeds miles away from the original plant. Half-eaten fruit was often carried and dropped miles away from the original plant.


The ovary of a flower grows, ripens and develops one or more seeds. This is how fruit form. Tomatoes are fruits.

History in America

Tomato plants bear a strong resemblance to deadly nightshade. During Colonial Times, they were imported and grown for decoration until considered to be a human food source in the mid 1830s. Birds and foraging animals ate the tomato fruit and dispersed seed throughout North America.


The dispersed seeds of tomato plants grew well in areas where there was plentiful rainfall, full sun and well-drained soil.

Tomato Cage

Trellising provides good support to growing tomato plants and their developing fruit. The Florida weave is a recommended trellising method that uses posts and twine. Stakes should be fitted about 5 feet apart with a tomato plant placed every 1.5 to 2 feet. A single tomato vine is attached to each stake using a soft cloth tie, starting 1 foot from the ground and every 12 inches thereafter as the plant trains up the pole. A newer staking option is the metal spiral rod. These 5-foot-tall stakes are best used when the tomato plant has been pruned to a single main stem. Another option is an A-frame tent stand, whereby tomatoes are planted under the structure and vines are then tied to wooden or bamboo vertical and horizontal supports. Commercial tomato ladders can provide excellent support for growing tomato plants.

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