WHAT IS TOMACCO?




It is fairly easy to work out from its name, but if you need clarification, 'Tomacco' is a fictitious hybrid between the tomato plant - Solanum lycopersicum and the tobacco plant - Nicotiana tabacum. However, you may be surprised to find that there is actually there is a pinch of truth to the Tomacco!

The tomacco plant was originally screen in a 1999 episode of The Simpsons titled "E-I-E-I-Do!".

The method used to create the tomacco in the episode is fictional. In the episode, the tomacco was accidentally created by Homer Simpson when he planted and fertilized his tomato and tobacco fields with plutonium. The result is a tomato that apparently has a dried, brown tobacco center, and, although being described as tasting terrible by many characters, is also immediately and powerfully addictive.

The creation is promptly labeled "tomacco" by Homer and sold in large quantities to unsuspecting passersby. A cigarette company, Laramie Tobacco Co., seeing the opportunity to legally sell their products to children, offers to buy the rights to market tomacco, but Homer demands one thousand times as much money as they wish to pay him, and the company withdraws. Eventually, all of the tomacco plants are eaten by farm animals — except for the one remaining plant, which later goes down in an explosive helicopter crash with the cigarette company's lawyers.

The process of making tomacco was first revealed in a 1959 Scientific American article, which stated that nicotine could be found in the tomato plant after grafting. Due to the academic and industrial importance of this breakthrough process, this article was reprinted in a 1968 Scientific American compilation.

A Simpsons fan, Rob Baur of Lake Oswego, Oregon, was inspired by the episode. Remembering the article in a textbook, Baur cultivated a tomacco in 2003 by grafting together tobacco and tomato plants. The plant produced fruit that looked like a normal tomato, but Baur suspected that it contained a lethal amount of nicotine and thus would be inedible. Testing later proved that the leaves of the plant contained some nicotine.

Both plants are members of the same family, Solanaceae or nightshade. The tomacco plant bore tomaccoes until it died after 18 months, spending one winter indoors. Baur was featured on the "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)" audio commentary in the Simpsons Season 11 DVD box set discussing the plant and resulting fame.

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Based on an article from http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Tomacco
Images care ofhttp://www.snpp.com/news/tomacco.html

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