Tomacco

tomacco

The tomacco is a hybrid of tomato and tobacco plants first described in a 1959 ‘Scientific American’ article. Both plants are members of the same family, Solanaceae or nightshade. The name ‘tomacco’ was given to the plant by Homer Simpson in a 1999 episode of ‘The Simpsons.’ Homer accidentally created it when he planted and fertilized his tomato and tobacco fields with plutonium. The result is a tomato that apparently has a dried, brown tobacco center, and, although being described as tasting terrible by many characters, is also immediately and powerfully addictive.

A Simpsons fan, Rob Baur of Lake Oswego, Oregon, was inspired by the episode. Remembering the article in a textbook, Baur cultivated real tomacco in 2003. The plant produced offspring that looked like a normal tomato, but Baur suspected that it contained a lethal amount of nicotine and thus would be inedible. The tomacco plant bore tomaccoes until it died after 18 months, spending one winter indoors. Baur was featured on audio commentary in the Simpsons Season 11 DVD box set discussing the plant and resulting fame.

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