The “TomTato” is a veggie lover’s dream: above ground, it’s a tomato plant; below ground, it’s a potato plant.
The idea was the brainchild of the horticultural firm Thompson and Morgan, based in Ipswich, England.
Although the concept sounds crazy, the plants are not genetically modified; rather, they are created using grafting. This process involves making matching incisions into two different plants which allows you to connect them.
A similar process was recently used by a professor from Syracuse University to create a tree that produces 40 different types of fruit.
The current version of the TomTato is the culmination of 10 years of development.
Early versions of the plant had issues with taste, but advances in grafting technology have allowed Thompson and Morgan to perfect their process.
“It has been very difficult to achieve because the tomato stem and the potato stem have to be the same thickness for the graft to work,”
said Thompson and Morgan director Paul Hansord.
According to the horticultural firm, the tomatoes ripen right around the same time that the potatoes can be dug up.
Many people in England have their own small vegetable gardens, but don’t have the space to grow as many different types of vegetables as they would like.
Thompson and Morgan hopes that the plant will gain popularity amongst these people, and possibly even start a trend towards more vegetable hybridization in the future.
If the tomatoes and potatoes really are as good as the company’s director claims, the TomTato could very well start popping in up vegetable plots all over the world.
Read the original story from the BBC here.