They might look like something created in a laboratory, but these “octopus tomato trees” are merely hybrids that grow from a single tomato vine but spread on a large trellis. Their crown grows to about 40-50 square meters and they yield tens of thousands of tomatoes every season.
The first time I saw a photo of an octopus tomato tree online, I was convinced it was nothing more than a clever hoax. It looked pretty cool though, so I decided to do a bit of research, just to be sure. At first, I only found a couple of mentions of these impressive plants on some gardening sites, but they didn’t offer much info on them, like how they are grown and where they can be found. Luckily, I stumbled across a travel blog that mentioned these tomato trees as a tourist attraction at Walt Disney World Resort. It even had a few photos of the trees, so I was starting to believe they were actually real. Soon after that, I found a bunch of people selling tomato trees on sites like eBay and Aliexpress, and even a short YouTube clip, so I finally decided they would make a great addition to our collection of amazing things most people don’t even know exist.
For some reason, there isn’t a lot of information about these octopus tomato trees on the Internet. It appears they were created in China, but I haven’t been able to confirm that from what little info I could find on them. The travel blog I mentioned before claims that Yong Huang, manager of agricultural science at The Land pavilion at Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort, found them in Beijing, China, and thought they would make a great exhibit at the Florida entertainment complex. So he brought a few seeds back with him, planted them in large gardening plants and, along with his team, grew them into the magnificent tomato trees you can see in the photos below.
Heirloom Tomato trees apparently take 1.2 – 1.5 years to reach their impressive size. They yield no fruit during the first 7 – 8 months, but once they reach maturity, you can expect a harvest of over 14,000 tomatoes on average. The current Guinness World Record for the largest harvest from a single plant was set by one of the two octopus trees currently on exhibit at Epcot – a whopping 32,000 tomatoes with a total weight of 522 kg. The square crown of the trees is spread on a large trellis and reaches 40-50 square meters in size.
That’s about all I was able to find on these impressive octopus tomato trees, but if you’re into gardening and plan to visit Walt Disney World, make sure to stop by the The Land pavilion at Epcot to find out more about them. You can even take the “Behind the Seeds” tour – a 1-hour guided walking tour of the greenhouse and lab – to take a closer look at them and chat with the caretakers.
Interestingly, ripe tomatoes from the octopus tomato trees at Epcot are regularly harvested and used in the several Walt Disney World restaurants.
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Source : fasingur.