State Fruit

The tomato, scientifically known as Lycopersicon lycopersicum, was designated Tennessee’s official state fruit in 2003 by the 103rd General Assembly (Public Chapter 154). While commonly considered, and commonly functioning as, a vegetable, the tomato is, botanically speaking, a fruit. In the culinary world, fruits are sweet and usually served as a dessert or snack, while vegetables are less sweet and often served with a main dish. However, the scientific distinction between fruit and vegetable is based on the part of the plant where the food happens to be. A fruit develops from the fertilized ovary of a flower and contains seeds, while a vegetable is any edible part of the plant other than the fruit (i.e. leaf, root, bulb, stem, and flower).