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.