Home Gardener Claimed She Created New Fruit Hybrid, Fooled Local Reporter


Everyone loves a good hybrid.

Since time immemorial, hybrids have been an object of human fascination, perhaps out of curiosity, perhaps for thrill of breaking the rules. From Hercules the demigod to the quirky conjoined CatDog - don't even get me started on hybrid cars - stories of these oddities have always hit close to home.

But then again, there's always one case that is an exception to the rule.

Such was the story of Kansas resident Sheri Miller. She alerted her local news station on account of an unknown fruit sprouting in her backyard. This, she claimed, was a cross between a watermelon and a cherry tomato plant, as the two different plants share the same garden bed. Miller, along with other tenants of Mundinger Apartments, have community gardens where the said plants are grown.

"It certainly is an oddity that has all the gardeners here baffled," Chris Frank reports. "Could a garden that has both tomato plants and watermelons somehow produce a hybrid, and if so, what in the world do you call it?"

The footage was referred to Rebecca McMahon, an Extension Horticulture Agent for Sedgwick County. "What it really looks like is an eggplant. Eggplants are cousins of tomatoes. They're in the nightshade family," she shared. "Based on the calyx on top of the fruit and the shape of the fruit and the color, it looks like a type of eggplant definitely," she then concludes.

So the fruit in question is really an eggplant, and not a "watermato" or "tomellon," as the Winfield gardener suggested.

A possible explanation to this peculiarity is grafting, a gardening technique where the tissue of one plant is attached to the tissue of another. This gives the impression of a plant growing from another type of plant - such as an eggplant growing from a tomato plant.

If there had been eggplants in the garden even in the previous years, McMahon remains open to the possibility of a tomato and eggplant cross. However, she asserts, "It is not possible for watermelons and tomatoes to cross."

Miller intends to open the fruit and see what's inside when her family members come for a visit.

Watch the video of Miller's mystery fruit below.

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