Tomato, Solanum lycoperiscum, syn. Lycopersicon esculentum, source of lycopene.

Tomato, Solanum lycoperiscum, syn. Lycopersicon esculentum, depending on whether you're a lumper or splitter, botanists place tomatoes with the 120 species of Solanum or the 7 species of Lycopersicon. Whatever you call it, today's tomato is a cultigen, a plant that has evolved under cultivation in modern times for over 500 years, but dates back much further to native groups of Ecuador, Peru Bolivia and Chile. The name tomato itself is derived from an Aztec Náhuatl language, "tomatl" first recorded in a 1572 work of Melchioris Guilandini of Padua who mentions when it arrived in Europe. While some may argue over whether a tomato is a "fruit" which it is botanically, or a "vegetable" which it is in practical terms, given recent science on its potential health benefits that argument is easily resolved in favor of simply calling tomato an herb.

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