Are tomato leaves edible in abundance?

Fable #1: Nightshades are extremely toxic

When referring to the Solanaceae household of crops, many individuals name it by its extra frequent moniker, the nightshade household.

Inside this household are the greens we all know and love, like tomatoes, tomatillos, potatoes, eggplants, and candy and scorching peppers.

But additionally inside this household are the nightshades famously identified to be poisonous to people, like black henbane, mandrake, and the “lethal nightshade,” also called belladonna (Atropa belladonna).

Regardless of its nickname, belladonna, an herbaceous perennial, has historical use in herbal medicine as a ache reliever and muscle relaxer, a remedy for abdomen and intestinal points, and whilst a magnificence support.

In reality, the title “bella donna” means lovely girl in Italian. It comes from the outdated apply of ladies placing drops of belladonna berry juice of their eyes to dilate their pupils. The look was thought-about enticing within the day!

However relaxation assured that although tomatoes are distantly associated to belladonna, they don’t include the chemical compounds that make belladonna (particularly its berries) so toxic.

The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) does have an attention-grabbing historical past nevertheless, as its scientific title, lycopersicum, is Latin for “wolf peach” and derives from German folklore.

When the tomato was dropped at Europe within the sixteenth century, individuals believed it to be toxic like different members of the Solanaceae household. Legend had it that witches used these hallucinogenic crops in potions to conjure werewolves. For the reason that tomato plant’s fruit appeared so much like that of belladonna, it was dubbed the wolf peach.

You see, tomatoes of yore appeared nothing just like the plump, juicy, trendy tomatoes we all know and love. Earlier than trendy cultivation, tomatoes grew wild in the Andes they usually have been tiny—the dimensions of a blueberry. Their form and shade have been usually mistaken for belladonna berries.

Wild tomatoes on a vine. Image: Aris Gionis.
Wild tomatoes on a vine. Picture: Aris Gionis.

Lately, we all know that whereas tomatoes belong to the (very giant and numerous) nightshade household, they positively aren’t of the lethal nightshade selection.

This ambivalence was later mirrored within the tomato’s different accepted scientific title, Lycopersicon esculentum (translated to “edible wolf peach”).

As you’ll be able to see, the dangerous rap bestowed on tomatoes is just an previous wives’ story, left over from a less-informed period.


Learn how to Fertilize After Your Tomatoes Set Fruit

You’re harvesting tomatoes; you made it! You

You’re harvesting tomatoes; you made it! You’ve efficiently offered your tomatoes with the proper vitamins on the appropriate time.

As soon as tomatoes start setting fruit, you’ll be able to often swap to a balanced NPK fertilizer or proceed with one that’s decrease in nitrogen than phosphorous and potassium.

Keep watch over your crops and search for indicators of a nutrient deficiency

Dr. Earth Premium Gold All Purpose Fertilizer

Purely Organic Products Tomato & Vegetable Plant Food

  • Pale yellow-white leaves are an indication of nitrogen deficiency.
  • Phosphorous poor tomato crops often have a stunted look to them, can have purplish stems, and should develop spots on the leaves.
  • Potassium poor tomato leaves have a stained-glass look, with the veins remaining inexperienced and the remainder of the leaf turning yellow. The information of the leaves might also flip brown.

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5. Potential Advantages of Consuming Tomato Leaves

Now that we’ve covered the relative safety of cons

Now that we’ve coated the relative security of consuming tomato leaves, let’s see the potential advantages from this meals supply. In spite of everything, they’re inexperienced and might need many vitamins that may profit our physique as a substitute of harming it. 

In line with at the least one examine, we all know that tomato leaves and stems have the next focus of antioxidants than the remainder of the plant. These elements additionally include extra polyphenols, whereas are plant-based micronutrients. When taken collectively, these substances can assist our our bodies combat off illnesses and luxuriate in improved well being generally. 

One very stunning idea that’s come to mild is that tomatine would possibly truly be a sort of most cancers inhibitor. It’s because the glycoalkaloid is understood to suppress and even kill most cancers cells inside the abdomen, colon, liver, and breasts. 

The examine that exhibits these findings additionally means that we should always eat extra objects which are excessive in tomatine, equivalent to tomato leaves and inexperienced tomatoes. There may also be a future have to domesticate crimson tomatoes which have excessive ranges of tomatine to be able to deal with most cancers. 

Fertilizing Established Tomato Crops or Nursery Starters

Perhaps you’ve skipped starting your tomatoe

Maybe you’ve skipped beginning your tomatoes from seed and bought crops on the nursery. Or your seedlings are potted up now and well-established of their pots. In both case, your tomato’s feeding wants change a bit.

You’ll nonetheless wish to proceed to make use of a balanced NPK fertilizer or one thing with a little bit extra phosphorus. Nevertheless, at this stage, as soon as the plant is round six inches tall and nicely established, you’ll be able to swap to feeding full power.

Proceed feeding your crops as soon as every week.

Leaf issues resulting from tomato plant illnesses

Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Dappled yellow leaves with twisty new progress are frequent with tobacco mosaic virus. This virus is usually transmitted by bugs and particularly aphids.

Don’t attempt to deal with these crops. Destroy them and take away them out of your property, and you’ll want to wash your fingers after touching any plant you think could possibly be contaminated with this virus.

When selecting tomato varieties for future gardening seasons, search for the TMV resistant label.

Bacterial Speck and Bacterial Leaf Spot

Small darkish spots on leaves that then flip brown and fall off are a symptom of bacterial speck and bacterial leaf spot. These illnesses thrive in scorching, humid environments and could be transmitted by your fingers and backyard instruments.

Watch out working with crops suspected to be contaminated with this illness. To stop future points, take away and destroy severely contaminated crops and select varieties with BLS and PST resistance sooner or later.

Late Blight on tomatoes

Leaves develop brown patches that flip dry and papery after they change into contaminated with late blight. Typically a white mould grows alongside the perimeters of the brown patches. In case your tomato crops have late blight additionally, you will discover blackened areas alongside the stems and the tomatoes develop laborious brown lesions.

Late blight on a tomato plant.

Late blight on a tomato plant.

Late blight will wipe out your tomato crop, and there’s no remedy for contaminated crops. So attempt to forestall this illness by eradicating and destroying contaminated crops. Don’t compost them. Ship them to the landfill and clear and take away all remnants of the contaminated crops out of your backyard.

Right here’s a video from the College of Maine about late blight:

For future crops, strive making use of a preventative copper fungicide or Bacillus subtilis spray, make sure that to water your crops on the base as moist circumstances favor the unfold of this illness, and search for resistant varieties labeled LB.

Septoria Leaf Spot

Septoria leaf spot has an analogous look, however the brown patches are round with mild facilities and darkish specks. And the illness will begin with the older leaves. Trim off contaminated leaves and take away them out of your backyard. Sanitize your fingers after coping with contaminated crops.

Early Blight on tomato crops

Early blight causes spots of darkish concentric rings on leaves and stem of the decrease plant first.

Early blight tends to strike your tomato crops after they’re loaded with fruit and days are humid and heat.

Preventative sprays might assist gradual the onset and unfold of the illness, however contaminated crops ought to be eliminated and destroyed. Search for resistant varieties labeled AB (A for Alternaria fungal species) for future gardens.

Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus

Tomato Noticed Wilt Virus

Darkish brown rings on the leaves will also be attributable to tomato noticed wilt virus. On this illness course of, you’ll additionally discover brown streaks on the stems, stunted or one-sided progress, and inexperienced rings on immature fruit.

This illness is unfold by tiny flying bugs known as thrips. Verify buy crops rigorously for indicators of thrips and illness earlier than bringing them house to your backyard.

Follow good pest management and take away contaminated crops to manage the unfold of this illness. Resistant varieties are labeled TSWV.

Bacterial Canker illness on tomato plant leaves

Leaves with brown edges could also be attributable to bacterial canker. Decrease leaves may even curl up and you might even see mild brown streaks on the stems of your plant. This illness usually exhibits up after crops have been injured, so watch out when trimming your crops to not depart open wounds.

A observe about illness resistance:

Don’t anticipate resistant varieties to not be affected by these illnesses. Count on them to tolerate the illness. Take away and destroy affected leaves as they seem, and the plant ought to proceed to provide fruit for you.

Yellow tomato leaves resulting from pests

Pests are a typical explanation for tomato leaf issues. They’re usually carriers of tomato illnesses as nicely, so it’s prudent to maintain a watch out for any bugs in your tomatoes. Examine a few of the bugs I’ve found in my tomatoes.

Aphids love tomato crops and trigger yellow, misshapen, and sticky leaves. Search for tiny bugs on the undersides of leaves and on the stem. These pests will suck the sap out of your tomato plant and generally is a actual downside in any backyard.

They can be many colors, but we often see the red/

They are often many colours, however we frequently see the crimson/pink ones. Ants love the sticky substance they excrete, and you might have a problem with each bugs on the identical time.

There are a number of choices for organic aphid control together with neem oil and diatomaceous earth.

Brownish, finely dotted leaves with skinny webs are a sign of spider mites. Search for tiny spider-like bugs in your leaves that make effective webs between and beneath the leaves. Infested leaves will dry up and fall off.

Spider mites and aphids can be treated with d

Spider mites and aphids could be handled with diatomaceous earth (DE). DE is a pure substance that’s available at native backyard facilities.

We use a plant duster like this one to use diatomaceous earth to affected crops. This powder will minimize by means of the aphids’ smooth exoskeletons and trigger them to dehydrate and die.

Rain and watering will negate the impact of the DE so reapply as wanted. Watch out to make use of DE in well-ventilated areas as inhaling this powder may cause injury to your lungs. And the lungs of children, pets, and chickens, too!

In the event that they get actually dangerous, different types of natural pest management together with insecticidal soaps and spinosad sprays may assist.



Tomato hornworm, with tell-tale posterior horn and stomach spots. Picture courtesy Whitney Cranshaw — College of Colorado.

  • Hornworms

Hornworms are humungous inexperienced caterpillars that feed on the leaves in grave quantities, consuming giant numbers of complete leaves. This degree of defoliation could be devastating to the crops, drastically lowering productiveness and yield. Extra mature hornworms are additionally identified to feed on fruit. The larval droppings (frass) are sometimes the primary clues that an assault is underway.

The 2 hornworms that assault tomatoes are the tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) and the tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata). They’re the larval stage within the life cycles of the Carolina sphinx moth (also called the tobacco hawk moth) and the five-spotted hawkmoth (also called the hummingbird or sphinx moth), respectively. Within the US, the tobacco hornworm is commonest within the Southeast and the tomato hornworm is commonest elsewhere.

The 2 hornworms are very related in look. The tobacco hornworm has white diagonal traces on its physique, whereas the tomato hornworm has white chevrons. Moreover, the horn of the tobacco hornworm is crimson, whereas the horn of the tomato hornworm is black.

Hornworms could be managed by selecting the caterpillars off the leaves and destroying them; establishing colonies of pure enemies that may parasitize the caterpillars (e.g., lacewings, braconoid and trichogramma wasps, and ladybugs); or making use of an insecticide, equivalent to one which comprises Bacillus thuringiensis or spinosad, each of that are acceptable to be used in natural manufacturing.

  • Whiteflies

International in distribution, there are over 1500 described species within the whitefly household, however primarily solely two to 3 that particularly feed on the fruit and leaves of tomatoes and carry illnesses equivalent to tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV). They lay their eggs on the underside of the tomato leaves. Feeding by whiteflies is a typical explanation for irregular ripening dysfunction in greenhouse tomatoes.

  • The grownup sweetpotato whitefly and the silverleaf whitefly are mild in shade, white to pale yellow, resembling a tiny grain of rice when seen from above. When at relaxation, the powdery-white wings of the grownup sweetpotato whitefly (biotype A) are held at an acute angle, peaked over its linear physique. The wings of the silverleaf whitefly (biotype B), additionally white, are held considerably intently to the stomach, and the physique is a extra saturated yellow shade. Each lay eggs which are white, turning brown as they strategy hatching stage.

A mixture of pure enemies, correct sanitation, and crop rotations with nonhost species, along with pesticides, equivalent to horticultural oils, insecticidal soaps, and azadirachtin, has been proven to have some restricted impact. Laying silver- or aluminum-colored mulch may assist to repel whiteflies. Prevention is important, as a whitefly infestation can rapidly snowball to the purpose the place the one possibility is to destroy the crop and take the world out of manufacturing.

  • Thrips

Thrips happen by means of a lot of the US. The best risk that thrips pose to tomatoes is of their position as a vector of the tomato noticed wilt virus, as famous above. Their our bodies are lengthy, slender, and small, and light-weight coloured to brown. The wings of thrips have lengthy hairs on the margins.

Forestall thrips by rotating crops and planting tomatoes away from the place different host crops have been beforehand situated.

  • Aphids

There are a number of foremost species of aphids that infest tomato crops, however essentially the most important are inexperienced peach aphids and potato aphids. Injury attributable to aphids varies relying on the species. Interactions have been proven between aphid pre-infestation and whitefly infestation and transmission of TYLCV.

  • The inexperienced peach aphid is discovered worldwide, together with all areas of North America, and happens in biggest numbers early within the season. They’re slender and dark-green to yellow, with darker inexperienced stripes and no waxy bloom. The injury they inflict can result in wilting, however sometimes solely delays maturity barely. Inexperienced peach aphids are a identified vector for viral pathogens, nevertheless.
  • The potato aphid is far bigger and extra elongate than the inexperienced peach aphid, and biotypes could be both inexperienced or pink in shade. It’s extra prevalent later within the season. In nice numbers, potato aphids may cause substantial injury: malformed leaves, stunted crops, and necrosis, or useless plant tissue. Their defecate, generally known as honeydew, can create an surroundings favorable to the event of mould. Finally, infestations may end up in giant yield reductions.

Aphids could be managed with using pure parasitic and predatory enemies, and, as with whiteflies, repelled by the position of reflective mulches early within the season.

  • Tomato/potato psyllid (Bactericera [Paratrioza] cockerelli)

The tomato/potato psyllid (TPP) is a member of the household generally known as the leaping plant lice. Within the US, it happens west of Mississippi. It’s a small (1/8" / 3mm) pest resembling a tiny cicada, that feeds principally on solanaceous crops, although it may shelter on, or be hosted by quite a few crops outdoors this household.

As they feed on the underside of leaves, the nymphs inject a salivary toxin that induces chlorisis and stunting of the plant’s progress suggestions, a situation generally known as psyllid yellows.

This may result in extreme wilting and stem demise. The grownup stage may transmit a bacterial pathogen generally known as Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum, which additional compounds the injury.

Indicators of an incursion by the TPP embody:

  • grownup psyllids, that are energetic fliers and leap from the foliage on disturbance;
  • the seen presence on the leaf undersides of tiny, yellow, ovoid, stalked eggs;
  • the presence of small white globs of wax-coated sap excreted by adults and nymphs, generally known as psyllid sugars, which in flip appeal to ants and mould;
  • the aforementioned stunting, yellowing, purpling, cupping, or curling of leaves;
  • extreme wilting and demise of crops.

For those who suspect you could have TPP in your property, don’t spray for the pest or disturb crops till your crops have been surveyed and an applicable remedy has been recognized. There are organic and chemical management measures that may be adopted, however we advise contacting your native extension company for help and reporting.

  • Potato flea beetle (Epitrix spp.)

Potato flea beetles feed upon members of the Solanaceae household. They’re widespread in western North America. The flea beetle is primarily an issue on the seedling stage, when crops are most weak to assault. Usually clustered on the decrease leaves, grownup beetles chew quite a few small holes within the leaves.

If flea beetles are an issue in your space, shield seedlings with floating row cowl put in on the day of transplant and eliminated as soon as the plant is established.

  • Tomato fruitworm (Helicoverpa zea)

Previously of the genus Heliothis, this larva of the Helicoverpa zea moth is also called the corn earworm and the cotton bollworm. They don’t overwinter within the northern US, however they might migrate north from southern areas. The larvae enter inexperienced or ripe fruit by means of the stem finish and feed on the fruit, making it unmarketable. At hatching, the larvae are white with a black head and black bumps, with two bristles in every bump. Older larvae differ in shade from yellowish-green, inexperienced, crimson, and brown to just about black, with effective spines alongside the physique.

Releasing the tomato fruitworm egg parasite, Trichogramma pretiosum, when the fruitworms are laying their eggs, generally is a useful management measure. Planting a entice crop of silk corn may assist divert the egg-laying moths away from the tomato crop.

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Southern Root-knot Nematode (N) on tomato. Picture courtesy Gerald Holmes — California Polytechnic State College.

Nematodes are a various, ubiquitous group of worms, over half of that are parasitic.

  • Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne arenaria, M. incognita, M. javanica) • N

The species of nematodes that infect tomato crops obtain their title from the galls, or knots, they trigger to type on the roots. Roots with galls are much less efficient at taking on vitamins and water. In consequence, the crops change into stunted, much less vigorous, and produce decrease yields. Resistance to all three main nematode pests of tomatoes is quite common in trendy hybrids. Nematode-resistant tomato varieties…

Septoria Leaf Spot

Septoria leaf spot is aptly named as a result of the first symptom of the illness are the quite a few brown spots that seem on the leaves, roughly 1/16 to 1/8 inch in diameter. The spots lack a yellow halo, and, upon shut inspection, have black specks within the heart. In contrast to early and late blights, there is no such thing as a stem or fruit injury.

In case your tomatoes are contaminated, they are going to proceed to provide fruit. Take away contaminated foliage instantly and disinfect your pruning tools when working from plant to plant.

To stop the illness subsequent 12 months, plant your tomatoes in a special a part of the backyard as a result of the fungus overwinters on contaminated tomato particles and within the soil, Buy disease-resistant varieties, don’t water overhead, use mulch to forestall soil from splashing up on foliage, and improve air circulation between crops.


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