vivipary in tomatoes #217999 - Ask Extension


vivipary in tomatoes #217999

Asked October 22, 2014, 5:36 PM EDT

I have a couple of ripe tomatoes that began to sprout tiny green stems and leaves all over the outside of the ripe tomato.  I am told this is called vivipary.  I would like more information.  Thanks

Cherokee County Georgia

Expert Response

Thank you for contacting the Cherokee County UGA Extension Office and Master Gardeners about vivipary in tomatoes.
Vivipary is the premature sprouting of seeds inside the fruit and is more likely to happen when abscisic acid (ABA), a plant hormone that regulates seed dormancy and germination, is reduced. Vivipary is not uncommon in overripe or very vine-ripe tomatoes and tomatoes stored in the refrigerator where exposure to cool temperatures and low light are thought to inhibit ABA.  Environmental conditions such as potassium deficiency and over fertilization with nitrogen are also thought to influence vivipary. In addition, some types of tomatoes (cultivars) are more prone to vivipary indicating that genetic factors may play a role. While tomatoes undergoing vivipary may not be very appealing or tasty, they are safe to eat.
Attached is a link to a brief  but interesting blog post from the University of Connecticut’s extension office, which you may find informative. I’ve also included a link that provides useful information and instructions about submitting soil samples to the UGA Cooperative Extension lab. If you have concerns about possible nutrient deficiencies or excesses for your own garden tomatoes, a soil test would be something to consider.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the Cherokee County UGA Extension office if we can be of additional service.
Ken Loud

Master Gardener or Judy Haygood Replied October 30, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT

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