Today in plant news: you say, "tomato!" I say, "potato!" Oh wait, that’s not how the song goes? Well, someone should have informed England, because someone over there just grafted together a tomato plant and a potato plant to create a tomato-potato plant!
It’s called a TomTato, and it’s the most freakishly wonderful-yet-terrifying thing I've ever heard of. It’s not even genetically modified (which horticulture nerds will have already picked up on by the usage of the word "grafted"). Grafting refers to the process of taking tissue from one plant and, well, grafting it onto another. That might sound simple enough, but the TomTato reportedly took the British horticultural firm Thompson and Morgan ten years of work (even if the name clearly didn't).
Apparently, the tomato-potato plant creation business has been rife with controversy in the past, when firms would just plant a tomato plant and a potato plant in the same pot and pretend they were one plant. I’m not even kidding. Here are some killer quotes from Thompson and Morgan director Paul Hansord:
"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 … It is a very highly skilled operation. We have seen similar products. However, on closer inspection the potato is planted in a pot with a tomato planted in the same pot - our plant is one plant and produces no potato foliage."
This reminds of the time Burger King made those "Ketchup and Fries" chips. Except way tastier. It's also been reported that that tomatoes grown on this plant are better tasting than your regular garden-variety superstore tomato.