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Debate: Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

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Is the tomato a fruit?


Background and Context of Debate:

People often get mixed up as to whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable. Just to clear the confusion up, tomatoes are actually fruit, but there are still a lot of things similar to that of vegetables.

Argument #1


Tomatoes have seeds.

The word 'fruit' really meens 'reproducing fertily' and that is what seeds are for. Any 'fruit' must have seeds. This makes the literal meaning correct. All fruit have seeds and that applies to all fruit. If a "vegetable" has seeds, then actually it is a fruit. This is simply a technical thing about fruit. All fruit have seeds and anything withs seeds is fruit. Tomatoes often get mistaken as being vegetables because they have characteristics like vegetables but the golden rule for identifying fruit is that they have seeds and only fruit have seeds. Because tomatoes have seeds, they must be fruit.

Another fruit is also often mistaken as a "vegetable" and that is the pumpkin. The same principle does apply for this and really, pumpkin is a fruit.


Tomatoes grow on a stalk.

All vegetables grow on either a stem, stalk or roots(eg. carrots). Since tomatoes are grown on a stalk, they are technically considered vegetables. This is a principle that applies to all vegetables. You may say that peas and beans don't have stalks or stems. Well, that's because they are actually fruit and they do have small seeds.

Argument #2


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It was ruled by the US Surpreme Court as a vegetable.

The case of whether tomatoes were fruit or vegetables was brought the the Surpreme Court of the United States in 1893. There it was ruled as a vegetable.

Although tomatoes are botanically fruit, the court concluded that it was a vegetable because it is used for things like soup, ketchup and sauces. Fruit cannot be used for any of these things however most vegetables can be. [1]

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Related pages on Debatepedia:

External links and resources:

Ask Oxford[2]

Science Bob Q&As:Tomato[3]

Green Nature Facts[4]

Tomato -- Fruit or Vegetable[5]

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