The tomato plant (Solanum lycopersicum) belongs to the nightshade family of Solanaceae. The tomato is the edible fruit of this plant. The plant is native to Central and South America and the tropical highlands.
Tomato plants usually grow to a height of between 1-3 metres (or 3-10 feet). Their stem is not so strong, so if not supported (like in a greenhouse) the stem often extends over the ground. Indeterminate tomato types are so-called ‘tender’ or ‘half-hardy’ perennials. The plants die every year in temperate climate, but in greenhouses they can sometimes sustain up to three years.
A great number of tomato varieties is now cultivated in temperate climates around the world. Greenhouses make year round production and cultivation in cooler regions feasible.