Solanum habrochaites is a “wild tomato”, or one of about 13 species in the Solanum lycopersicum genus, or tomato “family”.  The other, older name for this species is Lycopersicon hirsutum.

This species is native to Peru and southern parts of Ecuador and has small, green, hairy fruit.

S. habrochaites is often found in higher elevations river valleys (between 1,800 and 3,300m) from southern Ecuador to central Peru. It is a strong outbreeder with a very long exerted stigma. Most are self-incompatible and need siblings nearby for pollination. Occasionally self pollination occurs but produce weak plants that show inbreeding depression. This subspecies does not readily cross with L. esculentum.

The other subspecies, S. habrochaites f. glabratum, is self-compatible and progeny does not suffer from inbreeding depression. It is found in the southwestern parts of Ecuador at lower latitudes (0-6 degrees south). This subspecies is capable of crossing with L. esculentum.

S. habrochaites has been noted for several resistances to pests. One trait is that of resistance to two species of red spider mite. This is a physical rather than a biochemical mechanism. Mites become tangled in sticky substances which are secreted by the glandular hairs (trichomes). S. habrochaites also has a high concentration of a naturally occurring pesticide, 2-tridecacone, in the plant. This provides a high degree of protection against Pin worm, leaf miners, aphids and caterpillars. The older the plant the stronger this resistance becomes.

S. habrochaites has also been a source of resistance to pathogens such as early blight, bacterial speck and root-knot nematodes. S. habrochaites has also been investigated as a source of cold tolerance and used in breeding rootstock.

S. habrochaites f. glabaratum has always been a vigorous, perennial grower for us with dense foliage and lots of flowers.  The fuzzy fruits are "green when ripe".  They have a refreshingly mild sweet taste with very little acid,  with distinct ‘fruity’ notes. The "hairy" characteristic is striking while giving the plant an obvious advantage in discouraging pests.

There are two types (subspecies) of Solanum habrochaites:    • Solanum habrochaites    • Solanum habrochaites  f. glabaratum

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TOM8TOES 038jur

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Tags: wild tomatoes, species