An introduction to biodiversity.
A simple explanation of what biodiversity is, how we make sense of it and its importance to us. Plus an introduction to the biodiversity of potatoes and tomatoes.
A rare wild tomato from the Galápagos Islands with unusual yellow or orange fruit.
It is a herb that grows up to 2 metres high, climbs up other plants, and can survive for several years. Its leaves are quite small, fleshy and sticky, but grow bigger when cultivated. There are small leaves growing next to the flowers and fruit, which are useful for telling it apart from other wild tomatoes. There is a lot of hair on all parts of the plant and the hairs under the leaves have small glands on the tips. The fruit is yellow or orange when ripe. All wild tomatoes that grow only on the Galápagos Islands have yellow or orange fruit, but the ones from South America have red fruit. Sepals (the small green leaves that grow around the petals) are shorter than the ripe fruit and pressed close to it. Each dry seed is about four times lighter than a dry tomato seed.
Taste / cooking
Sharp taste, edible but not normally eaten by people.
Specific nutritional benefits
High levels of beta carotene and lycopene.
Habitat / growing
Grows only on the Galápagos Islands. Found on lava from recent volcano eruptions, near the sea or higher up on the hills. It can grow closer to the sea than wild tomatoes that have been brought to the Galápagos Islands from South America.
High levels of salt tolerance. The structure of the fruit stalk does not let the fruit fall to the ground when it is ripe. Solanum cheesmaniae has been used in breeding programs to give this useful feature to cultivated tomatoes.