Tomato – Deciphering Letters on Tag

Q: I recently bought a tomato plant from a garden center. The label says it is Lycopersicon esculentum ‘Celebrity’ VFFNTASt. Can you decipher the letters after the variety name?

A: I’m sure you recognized the Latin words Lycopersicon esculentum as the scientific name for tomato. My University of Georgia vegetable specialist friend Wayne McLaurin taxed his brain in your behalf to figure out the letter code, which signifies the diseases to which your ‘Celebrity’ tomato is resistant.

V = Verticillium wilt
FF = Fusarium wilt, races 1 & 2
N = Nematodes
T = Tobacco Mosaic virus
A = Alternaria solani (Early blight)
St = Stemphylium solani (Gray leafspot)

I’m particularly impressed with the designated resistance to early blight. This disease causes yellow, brown-spotted leaves on the lower part of a tomato plant. The yellowing progresses up the plant, eventually defoliating it. The blight is rampant on garden tomatoes right now so planting a variety resistant to the disease is a great idea.

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