The tomato though commonly classified as a vegetable is really a fruit, a berry in fact. Tomato fruits exibit all of the common characteristics of berries. The fruit develops from the ovary of the flower. The tomato is fleshy due to the pericarp walls and skin. Finally there are several seeds in each tomato. (Weier, et al., 1982)

transverse section of five locule tomato fruit

Tomatoes can be either bilocular or multilocular. Most cultivated varieties except cherry tomatoes have four or five locules. The locules are surrounded by the pericarp. The pericarp includes the inner wall, columella; the radial wall, septa; and the outer wall. The pericarp and the placenta comprise the fleshy tissue of the tomato.

The seeds are located inside of the locular cavities and are enclosed in gelatinous membranes.

There are vascular bundles throughout the outer wall of the pericarp and travelling from the stem to the center of the tomato and from there radiating to each seed. (Ho and Hewitt 1986)

Bilocular Multilocular

Introduction | Flowers&Fruit | Roots | Stems | Leaves

© Thomas L. Rost 1996
Section of Plant Biology Division of Biological Sciences