The spiky fruit you see above is a newly discovered tomato, but not just any tomato. This one bleeds.
Christened Solanum ossicruentum (the latter word is a portmanteau of the Latin words for “bone” and “bloody”), the tomato, discovered in Australia, bleeds when cut open. Exposure to the air causes its inside juices to change color from white to red to maroon.
The burrs likely perform a protective function, as well as helping the plant spread its seeds by getting stuck to other creatures.
The tomato was identified in early May by some American scientists, though the indigenous Walmajarri people in Western Australia have been eating parts of a similar “salty bush tomato” for years.
Professors involved in the discovery said that it was one of thousands of species yet to be formally identified on the Australian continent. “There is a wealth of museum material just waiting to be given names—and, of course, the organisms represented by those specimens await that recognition, as well as the attention and protection that come with it,” said Chris Martine, a professor who was on the team that identified Solanum ossicruentum.
A class of seventh-graders in Pennsylvania, incidentally, helped come up with the new tomato’s moniker, homing in, of course, on the blood and bone.
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