Solanum lycopersicum L.


Sp. Pl. 1: 185 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Sparingly established

Erect or sprawling annual herb or short-lived perennial herb to 1.5 m high, green, occasionally with purplish stems, densely pubescent with glandular and eglandular simple hairs; prickles absent. Leaves deeply pinnate to pinnatisect, sometimes entire, ovate, to 30 cm long and 10 cm wide, margins entire, irregularly dentate or lobulate, more or less concolorous, densely villous below; petiole 2–5cm long. Inflorescences simple or branched at base, usually 3–7-flowered; peduncle 2–5 cm long. Flowers on pedicels 1–1.5 cm long; calyx 4.5–11 mm long, accrescent in fruit, lobes lanceolate or narrow-ovate, 4–10 mm long; corolla stellate, to 25 mm diam., yellow, lobes narrow-triangular, often reflexed, 7–10 mm long; anthers 5–10 mm long, including sterile appendage. Berry globose or depressed-globose, 10–20 mm diam., red at maturity; seeds 2–3 mm long, yellow-grey. Flowers summer–autumn.

*GipP, *Gold, *OtR, *VRiv, *VVP. Native to Central and South America. Widely grown for its fruit and found escaping into disturbed, often rocky sites, in the suburbs of Melbourne and along Yarrowee River in Ballarat.

Previously placed in Lycopersicon which is distinguished from Solanum based on the anthers with elongate sterile appendages (Purdie et al. 1982). However, phylogenetic analyses of DNA data have shown Lycopersicon to belong to the same lineage that includes potato within Solanum, hence supporting its inclusion in Solanum (Spooner et al. 1993; Bohs 2005).

The description provided encompasses wild tomato plants in Australia. Cultivars of tomatoes grown commercially and in private gardens can differ substantially from the morphology of wild plants. Most differences are associated with the fruit including the colour which may not be red at maturity, the shape and the size (cultivated tomato fruit is usually 5–10 cm diam.). Cultivated tomatoes also have 6–9 corolla lobes (rather than 5), multilocular ovaries (rather than being 2-locular) and tend to be larger leaved (Symon 1981). Feral tomatoes revert to the wild type morphology (Symon 1981).

Created by: Daniel Ohlsen, 2016-05-17
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-06-18
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Solanales
family Solanaceae
genus Solanum
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Solanum lycopersicum in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Solanum lycopersicum in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Victorian Volcanic Plain present introduced
Victorian Riverina present introduced
Gippsland Plain present introduced
Goldfields present introduced
Otway Ranges present introduced

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory