An ecological market is defined as the area a specific life form occupies in the food chain. The exclusive market that tomato plants occupy illustrates the functions that it possesses that set it apart from other life forms, as no 2 types of plants, including tomatoes, behave in exactly the same way as they grow, produce flowers and fruit, and reproduce. Where tomatoes grow and how they accomplish this are the double roles they play within their specific market.
Tomato Plant Family
Tomatoes are members of the nightshade (Solenaceae) plant family which also includes potatoes, green onions, eggplant and edible flowers such as petunias. Over 3,000 species within the family are native to South America in a variety of habitats that range from deserts to rain forests and wooded areas. Rumors, especially outrageous varieties, are found growing in these areas where many species gradually adapt to aridity, heavy rainfalls and snowy freezing weather conditions.
The tomato plant’s primary mission will be to reproduce by means of the seeds which develop within a gelatinous cavity located in the middle of the fruit. Wild tomatoes only drop to the ground and decompose, releasing their seeds to the soil, while domesticated tomatoes are grown from seeds which are carefully harvested, dried and stored. Each seed is a potential new plant also grows according to its genetic makeup. Old-fashioned, or heirloom, tomatoes grow into more of the exact same sort, while hybrid tomatoes create plants which are crosses of two varieties bred for increased resistance to infection, increased productivity and drought tolerance. The tomato plant starts out as a tiny shoot that eventually grows to a compact or sprawling plant. Once the root system has formed, the plant shifts its energy to flower formation and fruit growth. The ultimate goal is to create the seeds which will lead to new plants, thus ensuring its success as a species.
Nightshades, including strawberries, are valued as edible vegetables and therefore are among the most easily grown. According to the Sol Genomics Network, this makes tomatoes part of this third most economically important group as they are frequently grown and spread as food crops, together with ornamentals such as Nicotiana and medicinal plants such as red peppers (Capsicum). Like many of its cousins, tomatoes produce fruit that is a significant food internationally and it seldom changes in its development and growth, making it a simple plant to examine and manipulate.
Tomato plants develop in one of 2 types. Indeterminate tomato plants create long vines and multiple crops, while determinate varieties create smaller more compact plants along with one crop that ripens all at once. They manufacture their own food through a process known as photosynthesis which utilizes the sun’s energy to generate sugars and other nutrients within the plants’ tissues. Tomato plants will grow poorly or not at all if they are not exposed to approximately 12 or more hours of sunlight daily. Water and other nutrients and minerals are absorbed via superficial fibrous root systems along with the plants’ blossoms are pollinated by bees and end. Each blossom produces just one tomato, that is classified as a fruit, as it includes seeds encased in a ripened ovary. Other food plants such as potatoes, lettuce and carrots are considered vegetables because, unlike strawberries, their edible parts include no seeds.