Unusual characters of Pearson tomatoes in East Texas.

Young, P. A.

Compared with Rutgers, Pearson tomato seedlings had darker green leaves. The green-wrap fruits showed strong resistance to cracking and catfacing. These are three valuable qualities. Large green fruits commonly were distinctly mottled with light green blotches about 1/4 inch wide which aided identification of the variety. The mottling disappeared when the fruits ripened.

Pearson is about 10 days later than Rutgers in maturing its fruits. Many or most of the early large fruits had elongated blossom ends like Oxheart in which the elongation is due to the el-allele (lemons often have such appearance). Many of the green tomato fruits larger than 1 inch in diameter on the top branches had prominent rounded knobs or pointed ends suggesting nipple tip that is due to the n-allele or the bk-allele in tomato selections of different ancestry. The F2 descendents of crosses with Pearson showed nipple tips on many of the little fruits on most of the plants indicating possible dominance of this nipple-tip tendency. However, segregation was not clear enough to determine percentages. The parent of an F3 population was chosen for freedom from nipple tip (Gl478C). Nipple tips were found on some little fruits on 2% of the plants. Probably they were not due to the n-allele, as in other seasons Pritchard and Marglobe tomatoes also have produced occasional little fruits with similar nipple tips. F1 plants of a Pearson cross showed few nipple tips when grown in cool fall weather.

A commercial crop of Pearson tomatoes in July 1951 bore normal-shaped fruits except that many of them had prominant persistant styles like bristles 1/4 to 1/2 inch long on their blossom ends. Descendents of these fruits produced many fruits with beaks and persistent styles.

Many tomato hybrid selections from T667 and T1294 showed nipple tips on one or more fruits per plant (usually the late fruits). Much work to free them from nipple tip was unsuccessful so they were discarded despite their valuable qualities. Only a few hybrids had nipple tips on most of their fruits.

Available evidence does not indicate the genetic nature of lemon tips, nipple tips and beaks on Pearson tomato fruits. They are rare in California. Probably modifier genes and environmental factors affecting expressivity complicate the study of nipple tip and selection work to eliminate it.