Pale green growth breaking through the skin—sounds like a plot to a horror sci-fi film, right? You might mistake them for wriggly worms. But, in reality, those light-colored tendrils are part of a new plant!
It’s actually quite normal for seeds to grow while still inside a whole tomato and force their way out of the fruit. But why do tomato seeds grow from inside the whole fruit?
Overripe tomatoes can have their seeds germinate within intact fruits due to the continuous loss of a natural hormone called abscisic acid or ABA. Once gone, the previously dormant seeds within tomatoes will enter an active stage of growth.
This eerie yet fascinating phenomenon is called vivipary or precocious germination.
So yes, it’s technically true that tomatoes can get pregnant and give live birth to the germinating seeds within them!
Plus, if we really think about it deeply, a whole tomato can act as a great vessel for secure growth!
The juice keeps the seeds inside the tomato moist. Its skin protects them from external elements. Also, the meat and everything else inside the fruit can provide nourishment to encourage seed development.
Many other factors can also prompt tomato seeds to grow from within such as overfeeding your lovely tomato plants with too much nitrogen.
Remember, nitrogen induces rapid and prolific green growth. However, what many people don’t realize is that this can heavily affect the seeds in fruits and vegetables too.
So if your otherwise bountiful harvest is ridden with seemingly mutated crops with green or white sprouts sticking out—all over the surface—it’s a clear sign that you need to lay off on feeding your plants with nitrogen-rich fertilizers!
Besides tomatoes, other commonly grown fruits and vegetables that can have either seeds growing from inside include:
- Butternut squash
- Dragon fruit
- Bell peppers
- Cactus fruits
All in all, though, I would say this is something that happens only once in a blue moon. This can explain why there are very few pictures—and pretty much no videos—of fruit and vegetable viviparity on the web.
Now, if you’re one of the few people who have a “pregnant” tomato—or any other viviparous crop—in your possession, you have the opportunity to observe what happens to it once all the seeds have completely sprouted.
Heck, I would record it to immortalize such a rare plant phenomenon!
Then, if you have no intention of planting those seeds, however, don’t fret. Tomatoes with sprouts growing out of them are completely safe to eat. You could probably even up your fiber intake with them!
Otherwise, you could offer it to your neighbors or friends who you know are true-blue green thumbs.
Fair warning though, many other viviparous fruits and vegetables should never be eaten because their seeds may contain highly concentrated amounts of toxins like alkaloids!