Do Tomato Plants Have White Flowers? (Explained)

If you are wondering whether tomato plants have white flowers or not, then let me tell you that tomatoes are of several varients and one of those varients has white flowers.

If you are familiar with only the traditional kinds of tomato plants that produce yellow flowers, then you must know there is a lot more left to be discovered. In fact, tomatoes have several diversified species that are vastly different from one another.

Yes, there is one species called the “Morelle de Balbis,” or the Litchi Tomato that produces white flowers! The plants look most beautiful when in full bloom for these white pretty flowers.

If you are a botany enthusiast or you love to read about exceptional varieties of plants, the Litchi tomato plant could be of great interest to you. These unique, flower-producing tomato plants can also produce really tasty, creamy tomatoes. So, let us analyze in detail these white-colored flower-producing tomato plants.

Which Tomato Plants Have White Flowers?

To be fair, the only known varieties of tomatoes that can produce white-colored flowers are the Litchi Tomatoes. The flowers are either wholly white or have a purplish hue in the lower petals.

Actually, we are all familiar with the regular tomato plants that produce yellow flowers and then bloom into bright red tomatoes.

These can grow anywhere in your backyard or garden. Basically, all tomato plants are small shrubs. But other varieties can produce different flowers and even fruits (tomatoes)! Actually, there is a great controversy regarding whether the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable.

You can refer to it as both. For example, there are Black Prince, Yellow Taxi, Isis Candy, Copia, Apricot Brandywine, Banana Legs, etc. All these have more or less the same yellow flowers but with different criteria. The main difference lies in the fruits. The colours of the tomatoes vary, and so do the inside anatomy and consistency!

However, the Litchi Tomatoes are the unique species seen so far. They are the only species that can produce white flowers.

The flowers are, however, monoecious, like regular tomato varieties. That is, they grow both male and female flowers.

Commonly, you may have heard of these tomatoes as the Vila-vila, the sticky nightshade, the Morelle de Balbis, Red Buffalo-bur, and the Fire and Ice Plant. However, the most widely popular name is the Litchi Tomato.

You could find these in the supermarkets as well. Generally, they grow well in Native America and are pretty famous there. The tomatoes are also rich and have a creamy texture like raspberries.

They go well with salads, portions of pasta, etc. And they are very different from regular tomatoes. The plant has thorns all over it. So, they are also called “Thorny Tomatoes!”

Unique Criteria Of Litchi Tomatoes

Actually, they are not litchis, nor are they like ordinary tomatoes. They are unique and have several special features that you need to know about. Most of their unique features are related to their appearances and structures.

The Litchi Tomatoes (Solanum sisymbriifolium) belong to the family Solanaceae. The word Morelle means nightshade, and Balbis indicates the endemic area of this plant. These plants grow as small shrubs in shady places.

1. Regions And Weather

These grow well in South America. A French botanist first discovered them. Basically, they require similar kinds of environments as regular tomatoes. That is, they prefer lightly shaded areas with moist and good-quality soil and cannot tolerate extremes of temperature.

The soil temperature should be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, they grow well in winter. However, these plants can tolerate frosts even when the temperature is as low as 25 degrees. Ordinary tomato plants would die at this temperature.

2. Plant Structure

Actually, thorny tomatoes are small shrubs, so they attain a height of about 5 to 8 feet. They are much broader than they grow in length. The weird thing about this plant is that it has thorns in its stems, shoots, and fruits.

In fact, you will see the tomatoes covered by spiky thorns on the green pods encasing the fruit. It is the reason why most gardeners prefer to grow them as shield plants on the edge of their gardens. So, on one hand, you can protect the garden, and on the other hand, you can enjoy the tasty dishes! Moreover, they are spiny, tall, and prickly.

The flowers are star-like in shape. Most flowers are totally white with a yellow centre where the anthers have converged. But some of these plants can have a few lavender-colored petals. About 12 flowers grow per cluster.

3. Flowering

In this context, the Litchi tomatoes are very different from ordinary tomatoes. Usually, the shoots of the plant from where the flowers grow do not have leaves. They produce flowers only.

When pruning the plant, try to avoid the flowering shoots. Prune the branches that you want to discard only. Provide abundant fertiliser and water them regularly for proper flowering. These plants may require one inch of water per week.

4. The Fruits

The Litchi tomatoes are blood-red-colored tomatoes covered by a green pod when they hang from the branches. Actually, they are green first, then golden-yellow, and then deep red. But when you cut a cross-section, you can observe the velvety yellow or creamy-gold texture inside.

The seeds are small, flat, and golden in color. You could compare these with the seeds of regular tomatoes. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, the fruits have thorns too. The thorns are about half an inch in length. So, you shouldn’t pluck these with your bare hands. Always wear protective gloves, or you may prick and hurt yourself.

5. Pest Resistance

To be fair, if you are into gardening and you have heard of Litchi tomatoes even once, you will definitely hear that they are popular for their pest resistance. Basically, these plants have a special criterion that they can repel all pests and diseases.

It is attributed to solasodine, a potentially toxic and highly potent substance that is present in the stems and leaves of these plants. They can destroy fungi and bugs. In fact, if any pest ever consumes any part of the plant, it will continue to circulate the chemical throughout the lifecycle. As a result, the adult bugs survive less.

However, some pests may still affect these plants. These are the Tomato Hornworms and the Potato Beetles. They are not affected by solasodine.

Do The White Tomato Flowers Turn Yellow?

No, the white flowers of the Litchi tomato plants do not turn yellow. The flowers continue to grow into fruits. These may turn yellow at one stage of their development.

Most importantly, all tomatoes are flowering plants. Unless the plant has gone through a “blossom-drop,” it will continue to produce flowers that turn into fruits. They produce male and female flowers that participate in pollination.

Then, fertilisation occurs in the female ones. Later, these female flowers produce the future tomatoes.

Throughout its evolution, the white flowers of the Litchi tomato remain white until the flower has bloomed into a fruit. At one stage, the fruit grows and starts to turn green.

This green colour changes to a golden-yellow when the fruits start to ripen. And finally, they turn bright cherry-red or blood-red when they are fully ripe. Generally, it takes about 30 to 60 days for the flowers to bloom into tomatoes.

The tiny ones will develop within 25 to 30 days. However, larger tomatoes take more time, about 45-60 days. Nonetheless, the following period of ripening differs from plant to plant. On average, it may take 50–100 days to get fully ripe tomatoes.

So, if you see a thorny tomato plant with yellow flowers, perhaps it is some other plant and not a Litchi tomato plant. Or, the flower could be suffering from a lack of nutrition, which caused it to lose its white color. Nevertheless, it could be any other species that you do not know of.

Conclusion

Flowers on tomato plants, are they ever white? Of course they do. Morelle de Balbis, also known as Litchi Tomatoes, are a rare and exotic variety of tomato plant that blooms with white flowers.

Their flavor, consistency, development, and general outlook are all one of a kind. They are quite widespread due to their ubiquity in South America, where they thrive in plenty.

Perhaps you ate these without even realizing it in the form of spaghetti, salad, or sauce. You could also go out and get some seeds to grow thorny plants to use as barriers along the borders of your garden. To those who have persevered to the end, I applaud your diligence. Take care, and have a great day!

Sources:

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/yellow-flowers-tomato-plants-turn-tomatoes-64200.html

https://dickinsoncountyconservationboard.com/2017/09/27/looks-like-a-baby-tomato-smells-like-a-tomato-not-a-tomato/

https://vegetablegrowersnews.com/news/tomato-litchi-genes-studied-for-nematode-resistance-in-potatoes/