A woman in Kansas claimed she crossed a watermelon with a cherry tomato plant in her backyard garden to create a “mystery fruit” and the local news was on it—and baffled. Don’t worry guys, we’re here to help.
Kansas woman Sherri Miller contacted her local news station yesterday to alert them to the appearance of a so-called “mystery hybrid” that had appeared in her garden of cherry tomato and watermelon plants. News station KAKE immediately dispatched a baffled reporter to the scene to marvel at the vegetable’s appearance (very like an eggplant), muse on what it could possibly be (an eggplant), and wonder what we should call it (how about “an eggplant”?).
Eventually, the reporter revealed his footage to the county horticulturalist who very graciously pointed out that it looked an awful lot like he was holding a young eggplant.
Indeed it did! So let’s assume for a moment that (although no pictures of it actually on the stalk were provided...) the mystery vegetable—codename: The Eggplant—did grow on the cherry tomato vine. Is that any less of a marvel than Miller’s unnamed (she suggests a “watermato” or “tomelon”) hybrid? Nah, in fact it’s even pretty ordinary, if you change one simple premise.
It’s not a hybrid, it’s a graft.
Grafting is simply a matter of splicing a cutting from one plant and attaching it to grow from the root system of another—and tomatoes are some of the plants that accept it the best. In fact, you can even find tutorials specifically on grafting tomatoes and eggplants together online, like this one from the World Vegetable Center.
It’s quite similar to the process that was used to make this “Forty Fruit Tree”, or the “TomTato” plant which splices potato and tomato plants to get this:
Potatoes and eggplants are even both members of the nightshade family, making the so called “fries and ketchup” plant a very similar one to the one described.
Of course, another very plausible theory is that this is just an eggplant, grown on an ordinary eggplant plant, and then handed off to a gullible reporter.
Top image: KAKE, Bottom Image: Tomtato plant