Tomatoes with Potato Leaves

Have you ever come across tomatoes that seem to have leaves that resemble those of potatoes? Well, you’re not alone. Many tomato varieties actually have what we call “potato leaves.” But don’t worry, they’re not a cross between potatoes and tomatoes, nor are their fruits poisonous. Let’s dive into this fascinating phenomenon.

The Mystery Unraveled

At first, you might be perplexed by the sight of these tomato plants with leaves that have a smooth-edged and thicker appearance, akin to potato leaves. But fear not, my friend, they are just tomatoes with a unique leaf shape. One such variety, ‘Matina,’ happens to be one of these tomato plants with potato leaves.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t an uncommon occurrence. In fact, there are plenty of potato leaf varieties out there. Some popular examples include ‘Stupice’ and ‘Brandywine.’ You’d be surprised to learn that there are even hundreds of potato leaf varieties listed on Tatiana’s Tomatobase. So, embrace the diversity!

Why the Confusion?

You may wonder if these potato-like tomato plants attract Colorado potato beetles. After all, their leaves look strikingly similar to potato leaves. However, fear not! While our eyes see potato leaves, the beetles rely on the scent of the leaf, not its appearance. So, these beetles won’t be enticed by your “tomatoes that look like potatoes.”

The Good News

Now that we’ve cleared up the confusion, you can confidently plant your ‘Matina’ tomatoes and savor their delightful fruits. These tomatoes are perfectly safe to eat, and their taste will surely satisfy your palate.

Understanding the Genetics

The potato leaf trait is recessive, meaning that a tomato plant must inherit one potato leaf gene from each parent to exhibit potato leaves. If your ‘Matina’ plant self-pollinates, its seeds will carry two copies of the gene, resulting in plants with potato leaves. However, if it cross-pollinates with a regular leaf tomato, the offspring will likely have regular tomato leaves.

So, my gardening enthusiast, embrace the uniqueness of tomato plants with potato leaves. They may surprise you with their early and bountiful harvest, providing you with a taste sensation throughout the summer and into the fall.

Enjoy the journey of discovering diverse varieties and relishing the fruits of your labor!


Images:

  • Tomatoes with Potato Leaves

    A normal tomato leaf has numerous, deeply serrated leaflets. Photo: veggies-only.blogspot.com

  • ‘Matina’ tomatoes

    ‘Matina’ tomatoes. Photo: sanhoc, amazon.ca


Question (from April 2019): M. Carrington

Answer: Laidback Gardener

Response (from October 2019): M. Carrington