Wild Tomatoes

mr_grizzlyDecember 25, 2008

I have been reading a lot about the wild Galapagos Island tomato (Lycopersicon cheesmanii). They sound like they would thrive here in Houston, with our hot, early summers. Does anyone know where I can find seeds for these interesting tomatoes?


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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Colby, many islands make up the Galapagos complex and each of the islands has several species, S. cheesmanii being just one of them.

S. cheesmanii is best known for being salt tolerant and is used in breeding efforts for same. But there's also S. pimpinellifolium, the currant tomato, which is found on several islands.The tomato species found in the Galapagos came from South America to the Galapagos eons ago, just as they came from Chile and Peru to Mexico and hence spread by the Spanish all along the Gulf Coast as far as Florida , so you have plenty of wild species in your own state of TX.

One of them is Texas Wild, a currant tomato, and there are other names ones.

If you want to grow S cheesmanii, you can, and seeds are available at both Sandhill Preservation and Baker Creek and probably other places as well; I didn't do a Google search.

But most folks I know who have grown it are not "wild" about it in terms of taste although opinions vary. ( smile)

If I were you I'd grow a good currant tomato. And yes, the species do do well in hot humid climates.

One that I like is Sara's Galapagos which is a genetically stable cross between a currant and ????, the other parent not known. This one is available at Sandhill Preservation.

I've linked below to a recent thread here, now on the second page, which discusses this area of so called wild tomatoes and you might find that thread tells you a bit more.

Hope that helps.


Here is a link that might be useful: Wild Tomatoes

    Bookmark   December 25, 2008 at 5:08AM
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I grew the Pimpinellifolium here in the Northwest. It has tiny fruit, like sungold sort of but smaller, and almost immune to blight. I believe it is used by Tomato Breeders for blight resistance, but for its own fruit, it is a very small cherry type.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 8:26PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I believe it is used by Tomato Breeders for blight resistance, but for its own fruit, it is a very small cherry type.


Actually it's used mostly by tomato breeders working on developing new cherry tomato varieties b/c it imparts the flat truss trait that so many more modern cherry tomatoes have.

I don't even call the currant tomatoes cherries b'c they are so small, as in the .25 to .5 size range.

And when you grow one that's good, it's very very good with a huge burst of flavor. ( smile)


    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 9:06PM
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Wait, let's don't forget our poor little wild Everglades tomato.
I don't know about the rest of them, but you can't touch Everglades with blight. It just laughes it off.

Actually, come to think of it, if the Homestead/Immokalee growers haven't been able to kill it so far with all their diseases,
the stinker might be indestructable. LOL


    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 9:31PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Wait, let's don't forget our poor little wild Everglades tomato.
I don't know about the rest of them, but you can't touch Everglades with blight. It just laughes it off.

Corrie, I'd just as soon forget the Wild Everglades variety based just on the recent thread we had here about wild tomatoes. LOL

But yes, I forgot to mention it above, that every currant variety I've grown has been quite tolerant to the common foliage infections.

And there are many varieties where it's known that a currant tomato is in the genetic background, but so far there are no good tomato common garden varieties that have any degree of tolerance for those foliage infections, with just a couple of exceptions that aren't of use to the home gardener.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 8:43AM
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You know I had to hunt that thread down and read it. ;-)

All I can say is "yikes", and I see your point. LOL

I ordered Everglades seed from one of those guys one time. It was not the Everglades that I have been growing.
So I drove to Homestead and hunted down my original source. Wouldn't you know it, they were still growing in the same place after all these years.

So I'm back to growing what I call Everglades and what my friends in Homestead call Everglades.
It's a bigger, sweeter, better tomato, produces a lot more, and laughs at disease and heat. The vines are much more behaved too.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 10:14AM
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tomatonut(9a FL)

You wouldn't want to share some of those seeds would you Corrie?

Or, could anyone point me to a source for the Everglades wild? I had been asking around when I visit family down south about super strong wild toms of the area and never got a response.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 4:42PM
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You are more than welcome to as many seeds as you want.

I just planted mine out the other day so it will be sometime in March before I have any seed.

There's a guy on Ebay that's selling Everglades seed. He's the one I ordered seed from one time.
What I grew out from his seed is not what I've always grow before. His seed produced a huge lanky vine and very small currant tomatoes. His might actually be the real Everglades tomato and mine aren't. Who knows.
What I'm growing has been growing in this same area since I was a kid, and I remember Howdy Doody - ok?
It's a bigger tomato, almost like a santa sweet, the vines are a lot more compact.

Remind me about March to get you some seed. It's no trouble at all.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 7:00PM
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tomatonut(9a FL)

I'm gonna hold you to this offer Corrie! Thanks and I'll call you up in March. Actually, wouldn't that be a great time to test these plants in the Florida heat, humidity, bugs, etc.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 9:53PM
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I wouldn't hesitate at all to plant them out in March.
As a matter of fact, I just planted seed the other day and expect them to take a good two weeks to even sprout.
They will come up a lot faster once it's warmer.

Let me know if you going to plant them right out and I'll send you fresh seed. ;-)


    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 10:09AM
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I would love to get some of the Everglades tomato seeds from you. Also to email with you, but, can't seem to find your email address. Kiee

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 5:43PM
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Kiee, no problem.

My seed has not sprouted yet, but that's normal for them. I've seen them take a while to sprout.

Tell you what, as soon as I have seed I can send, I'll post a reminder to this thread, and post all the info in the "exchanges" forum.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 6:21PM
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Thanks for the speedy reply! I hope my email got to you as well? Looking forward to receiving those seeds.


    Bookmark   January 7, 2009 at 2:52PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Can I have some too? I can only trade flower seeds. I ordered Sara's Galapagos from Sandhill because of what Carolyn said. That thing she said about burst of flavor got me.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 4:18PM
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hallandalegal(Hallandale FL)

Hi, Corrie:
We are growing veggies here to feed children in 2 local churches and needy people in general and would sure love to receive a few of your great wild tomato seeds, please.
My email is johnmillerz2003 then @ then yahoo.com

Let me know where to send you an SASE so you do not spend on postage. THANKS SO MUCH. We hope you have a few seeds for us. Carolyn

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 9:35AM
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A much better canidate you might try seeking out are the varieties 'Nagcarlang' or "Phillipines #2" (or Fillipino #2). The only source I know of offhand is the place deemed nothing left to get out.

The description of the Nagcarlang tomato type which follows has been made up in part from information given by Dr. Eugenio E. Cruz, Director, Bureau of Plant Industry. Manila, Republic of the Philippines and from Dr. Howard Peto, Peto Seed Company, Saticoy, California. The Nagcarlang tomato is the onlytype which will set fruit in high humidity areas throughout the Philippines. For this reason, during the winter of 1948--49, Dr. Peto called at Manila to see if the Nagcarlang tomato type could be used in a breeding programs so that a canning tomato for the Philippines would result. He also took tomato varieties, over to Mindanao and the Southern Philippines,of which Kolea and Anahu have proven adaptable.

The Nagcarlang type has come into Ontario in two shipments. The first seed obtained has been written up in Scientific Agriculture 32:57-66, 1952. As far as is known the only surviving member in breeding programmes of the first shipment made to Ontario in 1948 is the type known as Philippine #2. Dr. Eugenio E. Cruz forwarded Nagcarlang to Guelph in the second shipment made in 1959, this seed having been gathered at Laguna in the Philippines.

In the Philippines Nagcarlang is known to be a wild-type tomato. Its history is unknown. It is not a variety as no two plants are alike. It is simply a heterozygous form which has survived in the jungles of the Philippines and which has also been brought under cultivation and even sold commercially. Dr, Peto has verbally stated that in the Philippines the Nagcarlang type has survived-and become pollinated in areas with 100 inches of rainfall per season. He stated that it is hard to believe that such wild-type fruit could be sold commercially. However, he saw Nagcarlang fruits being sold when he visited the open market in Manila. He noted that the flowers hang down, shed the water, and do not experience as much blossom drop (in) rainy weather as is experienced by commercial types.

While no two Nagcarlang plants are the same there are points in common. For example, practically all Nagcarlang fruits are small, very rough. and with a purplish "muddy" fruit colour. The fruits are firm and under Ontario conditions flat and sweet in flavour. They mostly ripen late in the season. The plants are very robust, and dense with healthy foliage. While Dr. Peto attributes fruit set under humid conditions to the flowers, the fact that the pollen remains active may have a chemical basis as the plants and fruits of the Nagcarlang type have a distinct purplish colour.

In the Philipyines the Nagcarlang tomato is resistant to disease and to periodic drought. In Ontario it is tolerant to late blight. Under Ontario conditions it will set fruit at temperatures as low as 45 deg. F, which is 10 degrees below the point at which tomatoes normally set fruit. In other words, it is cold tolerant, It is interesting to note that in the tropics Nagcarlang is resistant to sterility caused by damp conditions and in Ontario, far removed from-the tropics, it is resistant to sterility caused by cool conditions.

In the tropics the point of interest in to see if, through a breeding programs, the bridge can be gapped between the wild Nagcarlang type and the commercial varieties found on the North American continent. This would allow the commercial canning of tomatoes to be carried out in certain tropical areas such as the Philippines, where high humidity makes this difficult at the present time.

From Graham, T. O, TGRC 1961, vol pg 36

the purplish/muddy appearance described would be similar to a black or cherokee purple like appearance. Phillipine #2 was the variety that the green flesh trait was studied and named. (green flesh is what makes green fruited varieties - when combined with the gene for yellow flesh - and blacks/purples - when combined with various red flesh genes)

Most currants are fine in taste. Some do have a few off tones. Others, even when introgressed with regular tomatoes, may have initial bursts of flavor but also have nasty undertones or residual flavors. Kinda like Coyote and Green Doctors do, initally sweet perception followed by a nasty (astrigent in those instance) afterbite.

Currants are also widely varied. Not all are resistant to disease.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 10:49AM
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Seeds of Diveristy in Canada list it

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 10:56AM
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I would be interested in getting a few of your seeds. Please let me know how I can go about it. Thanks

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 1:32PM
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Corrie, I'd like some of your seeds if you have any left please. Let me know how to contact you. Thanks. Jackie

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 11:43PM
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"A wild tomato, native to the Galapagos Islands, purported to be a popular food source of the famous Galapagos Island Turtles. Fruits are small, similar to a small cherry tomato, and ripen to an orange. Flavor is fairly typical for a standard cherry tomato. Plants are ornamental, shrubby, with prolific fruit. This species is of particular interest for cross-breeding with garden tomatoes as plants grow well in salty-poor soils and have a number of other useful traits. Annual. #1944"

Here is a link that might be useful: Trade Winds Seed Co

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 2:03PM
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Another source is Twining vine Gardens. (link below)

Here is a link that might be useful: Twining Vine Gardens

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 6:52PM
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I have some of the everglades growing. They are in their second year and the fruits have gotten larger and some of the plants seem to be suffering from the heat. I suspect they hybridized with some of the other varieties that are nearby.
I just got a fresh batch of seeds from http://myworld.ebay.com/fishfarmerjohn/?_trksid=p4340.l2559 Is it possible to isolate them and keep them from hybridizing? I have another property that is in the woods, hopefully far from any other varieties. I also have a large enclosed porch and a greenhouse there that could be used. Would they need to be hand pollinated?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 9:40AM
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