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Are there different types of tomato leaves?

11 years ago


There are two BASIC leaf types, Regular & Potato Leaf; there are also variations of both, such as Rugose--an often darker green puckered surfaced leaf, or Angora--a hairy (pubescent) type regular leaf, not to mention here some variations of the basic potato leaf, and even at least 1 or 2 little known varieties with variegated foliage--that is, different colors besides green (usually white, beige or a cream color) on the same leaf.

Regular Leaf ( often abbreviated RL); This is the typical leaf type that most folks are familiar with. The leaf edges are serrated or tooth-like as some say. There's almost an infinite number of variations on this basic theme in terms of width/length of leaf, leaf color in terms of various shades of green or green/blue tint, etc., depending on the specific variety and also climate and growing methods. Some leaves are very narrow and are sometimes called dissected because they look like a saw tooth cut them. The leaves of many heart shaped varieties and some paste types also droop as well as having dissected narrow foliage and they are sometimes referred to as wispy droopy leaves.

Examples of RL varieties might include: Celebrity, Eva Purple Ball, Big Boy, Red Brandywine, German Red Strawberry and thusands of others.

Potato Leaf (often abbreviated PL) These leaves usually have no or few interruptions of the leaf edge. Sometimes there are a few large lobes or notches, but most of the time the leaf edge is smooth. Newly germinated PL seedlings sometimes don't show their PL nature until they are a few inches tall. PL leaves also have a heavier substance to them than RL leaves and some claim that makes them more tolerant of foliage diseases. Leaf shape can be different on a single plant with those at the bottom or top of the plant showing more or less smooth edges. Leaf color is usually a deep green. Scientists have divided the PL leaf forms into subclasses but we need not do that here for the differences are very subtle and not that useful for the home grower.

Examples of PL varieties might include: Prudens Purple, Brandy Boy, Brandywine, Lillian's Yellow Heirloom and others.

Rugose leaves are of the RL type but the leaf surface is pleated, or wrinkled or bumpy. Leaf color is a deep green.

Examples might include: Quarter Century, Martino's Roma and others.

Angora leaves are RL but have a greyish green fuzzy surface. There is one exception of a created variety which is an angora PL, but seeds are not available to the public. However that suggests that an angora PL could arise naturally from an accidental cross as well. Angora leaves can be wide or narrow depending on the variety.

Examples might include: Angora, Fuzzy Bomb, Velvet Red ( same as Angora Super Sweet) and a few others.

Variegated leaves are green with cream markings and are RL. Until recently no variegated tomato varieties were known to come true from seeds. There are two varieties now known ( or maybe one since no one has yet grown both) and there's little experience with either of them at this point. Hopefully seeds for at least one of them will become available in 2005.

Examples might include Variegated (aka as Splash of Cream by some) and one not yet named formally .

Again, leaf color and size can vary with specific tomato varieties and also with climate, fertilizer regime and growing methods.

Credits :
Carolyn137 - wrote the majority of the text.
Korney - wrote the opening paragraph.
Paul2101 - created the pic.
Other Gardenweb members assisted with the writing process.