The scientific name of a tomato is Lycopersicon esculentum. However, this fruit has other scientific names which are also used. These are Solanum lycopersicum and Lycopersicon lycopersicum. The tomato belongs to the Solanaceae family, the same family that potato, pepper, eggplant and tobacco come from.
In 1753, Linnaeus was responsible for classifying tomato in the Solanum genus and thereby it got its first scientific name in Latin which was Solanum lycopersicum. The name 'lycopersicum' translates to wolf peach. However, it was Philip Miller who was responsible for giving tomato its own genus in 1768 and named it Lycopersicon esculentum. In 1881, H Karst was responsible for renaming the tomato as Lycopersicon lycopersicum. However, this name was not commonly used by people. Only seed catalogs tended to use it. This is the case even today.
However, the name by Philip Miller, though the most popular, was considered to be against the rules that governed naming of plants. Therefore, it was decided by the scientific community and the name governing authorities to make Lycopersicon esculentum the correct name if tomato was categorized in the Lycopersicon genus.
However, now it has come out that the classification done by Linnaeus was actually correct. This was concluded after a lot of genetic investigation. Therefore, it is now considered that the tomato plant actually belongs to the Solanum genus. However, there is still a lot of controversy over the taxonomic classification of the tomato plant because many detractors feel that the tomato should not be classified in the Solanum genus for two reasons. First, the tomato plant's leaves are quite different compared to other members of the genus. Second, the alkaloids present in other members of the Solanum genus are not present in the tomato. However, on the other side of the coin, is the fact that tomato can be crossed with a few species of potato to reproduce a hybrid that can survive and also reproduce on its own. Therefore, this has concluded the supporters to claim that there is a close relationship between these two members, and thus, the classification of Solanum is correct.
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