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5 weeds that look like tomato plants

Plants grow anywhere and everywhere. So it’s no surprise you’ve come across plants that are similar to other plants in a way. It also happens to tomato plants.

There are a number of plants that look like tomatoes and can easily get you confused. The similarity can be on various parts such as the fruits, leaves, or thorns.

It’s important to know if a plant is really a tomato plant when you come across it or just a part of the weeds and plants that look like cherry tomatoes.

Also, knowing if the said plant is edible or toxic is equally important so that you don’t get health complications thinking it’s the same as a tomato.

Here are five plants that look like tomatoes:

1. Black nightshade (Solanum ptycanthum)

Black nightshade
Image: Flickr/Fungoal

The black nightshade plant produces a fruit berry that smells and looks like a cherry tomato when cut. But, don’t be quick to eat it because it is not a tomato.

It produces dark purple or tiny black tomato-like fruits when ripe and is considered poisonous when green.

The plant’s foliage resembles that of tomato plant leaves but contains solanum, a toxic alkaloid.

Black nightshade is familiarized with tomato plants because biologically, they are in the same family. They also share a family with potatoes.

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2. Horse nettle (Solanum carolinense)

Horse nettle
Image: Flickr/Matthew Beziat

Horse nettle is a wild tomato plant that is closely similar to an actual tomato plant except for its berry color.

When horse nettle matures, it produces a fruit that looks like yellow cherry tomatoes. However, the fruits aren’t edible due to their poisonous nature.

Another thing about the horse nettle is it has spikes that run throughout the plant, i.e. from the leaves’ tips all the way to the soil.

It’s best you avoid planting any yellow cherry tomatoes in your garden or nearby because you can easily confuse them with a raw tomato.

3. Red soda apple (Solanum capsicoides)

Red soda apple
Image: South Seed Bank

Adding to the list of plants that look like tomatoes is the red soda apple. The plant grows into a perennial shrub that spreads just like a tomato plant.

Red soda apple produces a fruit that is round and red like a cherry tomato. Its fruit can be confused with that of a tomato plant without a doubt. The similarity is unmatched, from the shape, color, and size.

As you can guess, it is a toxic plant. The seeds, together with the skin, have high levels of toxins. The flesh of the fruit can be ingested but only in small amounts.

4. Jamaican nightshade (Solanum jamaicense)

Jamaican nightshade
Image: Ifas

Jamaican nightshade is also categorized among weeds that look like tomato plants. It grows as a perennial shrub but occasionally grows isolated in the open. It has diamond-shaped leaves with stellate hairs and grows in subequal pairs.

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The Jamaican nightshades produce reddish-orange berry fruit plants that look like cherry tomatoes but are slightly smaller. The fruits are a third inch in diameter.

The plant is considered a wild tomato plant since it is not edible.

5. Litchi tomato (Solanum sisymbriifolium)

Litchi tomato
Image: Flickr/Jim Ward

If you come across thorns on a tomato plant, you can be sure that’s the litchi tomato.

It’s usually referred to the thorned tomatoes because the underside of the leaves and stems are covered with small thorns. Litchi tomatoes have several similarities with tomato plants, especially when it comes to the fruit.

It produces round dark-red fruits with yellow flesh. The fruit grows to the size of cherry tomatoes and has inside husks like ground cherries.

Inside, the seeds are arranged in the same way cherry tomatoes are. The plant is edible and is ripe enough when it can be easily plucked from the stem.

Some weeds somehow look like tomato plants. The similarities may be in how they grow, the leaves, or even the fruit. It is important to know these plants and whether they are edible to avoid health complications.

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