Livingston's Potato Leaf Tomato
Livingston's 'Potato Leaf' tomatoes.

Livingston's Potato Leaf Tomato

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Potato Leaf  Certified Naturally Grown Seed

80 days, indeterminate — The fruits are red in color and flattened-globe in shape. They are relatively small by today's modern standards, reaching about four ounces. 'Potato Leaf' is a good variety for processing and canning whole.

Knowing that we were working on reassembling the A. W. Livingston seed collection, a gardener in Australia by the name of Ray South sent us a commercial packet of 'Potato Leaf' from a company called Eden Seeds in 2006.

Although they did not implicitly attribute the variety to the A. W. Livingston Seed Company, their description certainly hinted at it. They stated, "Purplish red fruit, for growing in heavy soils and hot climates, known since 1887, good market and home variety."

A brief communication with the company revealed that they had little history on it other than they had been offering it for years and that their original seed came from a seed saver in America.

Since 1887[1,2,3] was the release date for Livingston's 'Potato Leaf' tomato, I was intrigued. In his 1891 seed annual, Mr. Livingston described it as follows:
"It has a strong vine and resists the wind remarkably well; an excellent variety for growing on trellis or tying up to stakes. It has the Acme color [ed. "deep-red"[2]], and is very prolific, solid and good. Especially adapted to hot climates, the leaves protecting the fruit from the scorching rays of the sun."
Following the trail of the historical record, it appears to have fallen out of favor and was dropped from their offerings, last appearing in their 1915 seed catalog.

We grew it out and noted that although it closely matched Livingston's catalog descriptions, we have observed some occasional variation in the fruit colors and will continue our work at re-selection of this strain. Each packet contains approximately 20 seeds.
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