December 13 2023, Wednesday

Here’s another captivating piece of tomato history for you! In 1554, the Italian physician and botanist Pietro Andrea Matthioli expanded on his earlier commentary about tomatoes, this time in Latin. Describing the tomato after the eggplant, Matthioli provided more details, suggesting the existence of multiple introductions of tomatoes over an extended period.
He noted, “Another species has already begun to be imported, flattened, round like apples, ribbed like melons, at first green, in some plants turning gold and in others red. They are colloquially called ‘pomi d’oro,’ that is, ‘mala aurea.’ Eaten in the same way [as eggplant with oil, salt and pepper, like mushrooms. That said by Hermolao]” (Matthioli, 1554: 479).
Matthioli’s phrasing hints at the diversity of tomatoes introduced, with variations in color and shape. The colloquial names ‘pomi d’oro’ in Italian and ‘mala aurea’ in Latin editions appear in subsequent versions of his book, following the description of eggplants. Unfortunately, Matthioli has never produced or commissioned an image of a tomato during his life. @{renshisan} What interesting facts do you know about tomatoes?