The botanical name for the tomato plant is Lycopersicon esculentum. It is a member of the Solanaceae family, also known as the nightshade family, which includes potatoes, peppers, paprika, petunias, tobacco, and the poisonous belladonna and jimson weed.
The tomato is native to the western portion of South America, including Chile, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. It did not become part of European cuisines until after the year 1500. Tomatoes are a type of fruit, specifically a berry, meaning they are actually mature plant ovaries containing seeds that are mature ovules. They are good sources of vitamins A and C as well as of lycopene and beta-carotene.