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    Tomatillos

    • Tomatillo
      Temporal range: Early Eocene to Recent, 52–0 Ma
      Tomatillo.jpg
      Fresh harvest of tomatillos
      Scientific classification
      Kingdom: Plantae
      (unranked): Angiosperms
      (unranked): Eudicots
      (unranked): Asterids
      Order: Solanales
      Family: Solanaceae
      Genus: Physalis
      Species: P. philadelphica
      Binomial name
      Physalis philadelphica
      Lam. (1786)
      Synonyms

      Physalis ixocarpa Brot.


      Physalis ixocarpa Brot.

      The tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica), also known as the Mexican husk tomato, is a plant of the nightshade family bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name.

      Tomatillos originated in Mexico and were cultivated in the pre-Columbian era. A staple of Mexican cuisine, they are eaten raw or cooked in a variety of dishes, particularly salsa verde.

      The wild tomatillo and related plants are found everywhere in the Americas except in the far north, with the highest diversity in Mexico. In 2017, scientists reported on their discovery and analysis of a fossil tomatillo found in the Patagonian region of Argentina, dated to 52 million years B.P. The finding has pushed back the earliest appearance of the Solanaceae plant family of which the tomatillos are one genus.

      Tomatillos were domesticated in Mexico before the coming of Europeans, and played an important part in the culture of the Maya and the Aztecs, more important than the tomato. The specific name philadelphica dates from the 18th century.

      Tomatillos are native to Central America and the south-western region of North America. In Mexico, the plant is grown mostly in the states of Hidalgo and Morelos; it is also grown in the highlands of Guatemala where it is known as "miltomate".

      The plant has been exported around the world. In the 1950s, it was exported to India, where it was cultivated in Rajasthan; it is grown and processed also in Queensland (Australia), Polokwane (South Africa), and Kenya. In the United States, tomatillos are grown in California and Iowa, where scientists from Iowa State University promoted a strain of tomatillos for Midwestern farmers they dubbed "jamberry". In 1952, another strain was introduced in Ohio, under the name "jumbo husk tomato".



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