Are Tomatoes Fruits or Vegetables?- True Answer with Facts

Tomato is probably the most common item in salads. In fact, I personally like it fresh & raw, just add a pinch of salt and black pepper- enough to make it taste delicious. I know many of you like fresh tomato in your plate. It’s really good for health and overall its tasty. So its always great to discuss a delicious fruit or vegetable like a tomato.

Ok let me clear, we all know what a tomato is? it seems very nonsense, But a very old question always becomes the hot topic of discussion- so what is it -The question is “Is tomato fruit or a vegetable? “.

The answer is not so simple as it seems to be. When I heard of this for the first time, the answer was quite clear to me but after a bit of research- I certainly got confused.

Before I start today’s discussion let us see some common facts about Tomato. No matter whether you are a botany student or a common gardener, you should know these facts and details.

Are tomatoes fruits or vegetables?
The correct answer for the quest is -“Both”. Yes, you may be surprised but the truth is that a Tomato is both a Fruit and a vegetable. The thing that matters here the most- is the perception and the person to whom you are actually asking this question. 

If the person you are questioning is a botanist or a biology student then the answer will be a “Fruit ” for sure – I can bet on that. Other than that, for everyone else, it is a delicious sweet vegetable.

Are tomatoes fruits or vegetables

Common Facts about Tomato
Is Tomato a Fruit or a Vegetable?
If you pronounce it “to-may-to,” it’s a fruit.
If you pronounce it “to-mah-to” it’s a vegetable.
Scientific name: Solanum Lycopersicum
Family: Solanaceae
Order: Solanales

Is Tomato a Fruit?

Is Tomato a Fruit?
Yes, Biologically Tomato is a Fruit. You can easily notice many seeds inside it. Also, if you have grown a tomato plant, then you may have seen it grow from a tiny yellow flower. It is well known that a fruit develops from a flower.

A Tomato is Fruit just like an Apple or Orange.

Very simple identification of a fruit is the flower that develops into new fruit after successful fertilization.

Technically, a Fruit is a part of a plant that is developed from the growth of ovary (the female part of a flower). Actually, the swollen part at the base of a flower is the ovary section. Here the fertilization occurs and finally it develops into new fruit. The growth of a Tomato is very relevant to this process. It develops as a fruit after successful fertilization that occurs at the base of a small yellow-colored tomato flower.

Is tomato a vegetable?

Is Tomato a Vegetable?
Yes, According to a chef or a passionate dinner, A tomato is definitely a Vegetable. It seems contradictory but it is 100 % true.
Tomato is obtained from plant and definitely, we can eat it -so the tomato is for sure a vegetable.

A Tomato is a Vegetable just like Eggplant, Okra, Gourds and many more.

According to the definition, the edible part of the plant is known as Vegetable. Technically, no matter whatever we eat, if it is directly obtained from a plant i.e., if it is a part of a plant then it can be considered as a vegetable. Any edible part of a plant is a vegetable, it need not be a fruit always.

Why is tomato not a vegetable?

This question may look contradictory to my answer. I think most of you may say that I have accepted for Tomato being a Vegetable. Then why this question? Is it relevant, if so how?

Ok, you all are right Tomato is a Vegetable but sometimes, technically it is classified as a fruit, not a vegetable, especially due to its growth pattern. Otherwise, a tomato is a perfectly consumable vegetable. If you visit any nearby fruit store and ask the seller for Tomato, he may think of you as a “Nin-com-poop”. Always remember not everyone knows Biology as you do.

Why is tomato considered a fruit but eaten as a vegetable?
Now, This is something Interesting. We all eat Tomato either raw or cooked. But I doubt, no one ever has thought of such weird question.

In fact, I eat Tomatoes a lot. It is a compulsory part of my daily green-vege salad diet. I know its healthy but actually had never bothered about the fact- why we eat a tomato as a vegetable though it is a Fruit by origin.

Finally, I got the answer, It’s quite simple. A tomato is biologically a fruit, as it is developed from a flower. On the other hand, we generally consume it after cooking or sometimes raw also. A Tomato has various application in different cuisines worldwide. This utilization probably includes a Tomato in the category of Vegetable.

is tomato fruit or vegetable

Are Tomato fruit or vegetable -What’s the Difference?

Before starting with Tomato, let us see what are the significant differences between a Fruit and a Vegetable.

Factors Fruit Vegetables
Shape & Size Any shape. Specially round but not fixed. Fruits known to today has lots of variation in shape and size. You can easily find some round grapes with apples and long cylindrical bananas together in your fruit basket. Any shape. No specific characterization. Vegetables, on the other hand, are not specified with shape or size. Actually, anything that is green and edible can be fit for the vegetable category. So you can have roots to stems and even leaves in your dinner plate.
Edible or not Maybe Edible. you can eat some fruit but others you can’t.

I know many of you are thinking of fruits as an Apple or Grapes or Oranges and Mangoes but technically a cottonseed pod or a maple Helicopters are all fruits that you cant eat.

Only Edible. Vegetables are always edible. No matter what part you choose, if it is edible then only it can be considered as a vegetable. That’s why We consider both spinach and Potato or even tomatoes as a vegetable.
Plant Parts Fruits are especially the swollen fertilized (seed carrying part-lower part of a flower) ovary of a flower. A fruit always develops from a flower. Any edible part of a plant is technically a Vegetable. It need not be a fruit always. Anything from roots to shoots or leaves to stems, if you can eat it then it is a vegetable.
Definition The sweet and fleshy product of a tree or other plant that contains seed and can be eaten as food. A plant or part of a plant used as food. Any Edible part of a plant is a Vegetable.
Significance for Plant The fruit is always very significant for its parent plant. It is a carrier of seeds. Each and every seed has the potential to grow into a new fruit-bearing plant. Ultimately it is the most efficient way to reproduce and multiply a species. Technically, A vegetable has not much significance for the plant itself. The only benefit for the plant is that it attracts grazing animals that sometimes help in seed dispersal. Overall, a plant has to pay a lot, especially for the vegetable purpose.
Types Biologically Fruits are mainly classified into two distinct types. these are Fleshy fruit and Dry fruits. These types are further classified into subgroups. The subgroups of Fleshy Fruits are – Aggregate fruit, Berry fruit, Drupe, and pome. The Dry type of Fruits is further specified as Achenes, Loculicidal, Septicidal capsules, poridal, Circumscissile, follicle, legume, loment, Acorn, Samaras, schizocarp, silicle, and silique. Vegetables are specially classified as types of plant. generally the vegetables obtained from leaves are a leafy vegetable, those obtained from roots are termed as root vegetables and so on. Have you heard of something like fruit vegetable or vegetable fruits? if yes, then what are those, please let me know.
Word Relation The word- Fruit is directly related to biology. It is the specific term for describing the seed-bearing part of a plant. Specifically, a fruit is a part of a plant that contains seeds for multiplying its generations. These seeds are sometimes enclosed within the soft fleshy covering. The Word Vegetable is mostly related to diet. It specifically explains the thought of food that is being obtained from a plant. Vegetable word is not for any particular plant part. It is relevant to any edible part of a plant.
Nutritional Value Fruits are considered highly nutritious. Many sweet edible fruits contain sucrose and fructose- simply we can say fruits are a rich source of natural glucose. The inedible fruits are also very nutritious. You may as how it can be, we can’t eat it so where omes the nutrition. Wait a minute, nutrition is not only necessary for us, but it is also very important for the seeds that are growing within the fruit. These seeds are important for the next generation 0f plants to grow. Essentially fruits are good to provide proteins, carbs, minerals, and natural fibers. Vegetables are also very nutritious but in a different manner. It is mostly related to our diet and especially with the culinary factor, it should be healthy and must have high nutritional value. A vegetable is good to provide roughage, carbs, and fibers other than minerals.
Example Apple, wheat, corn, green beans, snap peas, peppers, squash, avocados, Mangoes, olives, cotton, gourds and the little helicopters of the Maple tree, Everything that contains seed is probably a fruit. Potato, Yam, Spinach, Peanut, Clove especially Tomato and other edible plant parts are mostly vegetables.
Fruit– The sweet and fleshy product of a tree or other plant that contains seed and can be eaten as food.
Vegetable– A plant or part of a plant used as food. Definition by Oxford

Characteristics of Tomato-why it is both fruit and vegetable?

  • Tomato is fleshy in Appearance – It is the most prominent consideration for being a fruit.
  • It contains lots of seeds- The part of a plant that contains seeds is always fruit. fruit not only contains the seeds but also protects it from external damaging factors like air, water or even insects.
  • A tomato is a grown ovary of a tomato flower. We all know fruit always develops after successful fertilization of gametes in the flowers of a fruit-bearing plant. So it is good to say Tomato is a fruit.
  • Most specifically we can eat a tomato so it is a fruit as well as a vegetable.
  • Tomato is an edible part of a plant so it is considered as a vegetable.
  • If you like to cook food on your own then you will better understand what I mean to say. Of course, we can cook tomato or make puree or ketchup out of it, so it is obvious to say Tomato is a Vegetable.
  • collectively it is very obvious to say the by origin a tomato is a fruit and by utilization, it is a vegetable. It completely depends on your choice, what you wan say it- A Fruit or a vegetable or Both.

No matter what you like to call it, A tomato is always a favorite for dining lovers. You can use it as topping for various cooked food or you can eat it raw with some salt and a piece of fresh bread. All that matters here is what you like the most. Tomato is a very healthy fruit and being a vegetable its so delicious.

Is Tomato fruit or vegetable- US supreme court case

A very interesting story, in fact, a written document is available regarding this generation-old question- Are Tomato Fruit or Vegetable?

Before discussion let me clear the fact that this section has nothing to do with the biological or culinary classification of tomato. Also, you need not worry about the facts stated here. It is just for information and history of this discussion.

The question about whether a Tomato is a fruit or a vegetable has a documented legal historical record in the Supreme Court of the United States.

Actually, this age-old question was once a hot topic of discussion in the US Supreme Court.

It was the year 1892, on April 24 -a group of people mostly businessmen and officials filled a case regarding their concern for Tomatoes.

The case was launched to clarify whether Tomatoes are Fruits or Vegetables, this was important at that time as the tariff or Tax for fruits and vegetable varies from region to region throughout the United States. In the very next year i.e., 1893 the Court decided and declared a judgment in which it has stated that-” Tomatoes are “vegetables” and not “fruit” within the meaning of the tariff Act of 1883 based on common meaning of those words.”

Interestingly the Supreme Court did not consider the Botanical meaning to decide that tomato is a fruit or Vegetable. The main reason for this debate was the tax rules. At that time 10% tax was imposed on imported vegetables but no tax was applicable on imported fruit, this leads tomatoes to the category of Vegetable in the USA. Isn’t it Interesting, What do you think about the decision? please let me know- write your comments below.

Tomatoes are “vegetables” and not “fruit” within the meaning of the tariff Act of 1883 based on common meaning of those wordsUSA -Supreme Court (Tariff Act of 1883)

Final Words

Ok, after all this discussion, it is 100% clear that Tomato is both a Vegetable and a fruit. Now it is perfectly up to you what you wanna judge it for- A fruit or a Vegetable. I know, no matter how much details I present here, this discussion will never end. the discussion for tomato is a fruit or vegetable will continue forever. So I have a little task for you, let me know your personal opinion about this topic. Share this with others and continue the discussion here in the comments section.

Before leaving you should read- Is Okra Fruit or Vegetable?

Next time I’ll try to find some more interesting topic for you all, till then stay tuned -keep reading keep gardening.


Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

One thought on “Are Tomatoes Fruits or Vegetables?- True Answer with Facts

  1. Just when I thought I couldn’t love tomatoes more I discover they are BOTH a vegetable and a fruit. Plus a lot of other reasons to admire it too. And also that you have not just tons of knowledge but a good sense of humor too.
    I can barely wait to start learning about my most favorite vegetable of all time. The humble potato. “Potaato. Potahto”?

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