Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Cherokee Purple') in the Tomatoes Database

Botanical names:
Solanum lycopersicum Accepted
Lycopersicon lycopersicum Synonym

Data specific to Tomatoes (Edit)
Heredity: Open Pollinated
Skin Color: Pink
Black
Flesh Color: Pink
Fruit Shape: Round
Beefsteak
Flattened Globe
Fruit Size: Medium
Large
Fruit Weight: 10 oz.
Leaf Type: Regular-Leaf
Tomato Plant Height: 5 feet
Best Uses: Slicing
Canning
Growth Mode: Indeterminate
Earliness: Mid-season
Late
Miscellaneous: Heirloom
History: Introduced by Craig LeHoullier who received it from J. D. Green (TN). Reported as originally grown by the Cherokee Indians.
Comments by NJ Ag Exp St.: Very sweet flavor? Has green shoulders
Country: USA

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Vine
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 11 +4.4 °C (40 °F) to +7.2 °C (50 °F)
Plant Height: Varies greatly by species and cultivated variety.
Plant Spread: Varies greatly by species and cultivated variety.
Leaves: Other: Varies greatly by species and cultivated variety.
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Other: Varies greatly by species and cultivated variety.
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Other: Varies greatly by species and cultivated variety.
Uses: Vegetable
Suitable as Annual
Edible Parts: Fruit
Eating Methods: Raw
Cooked
Resistances: Rabbit Resistant
Toxicity: Leaves are poisonous
Roots are poisonous
Propagation: Seeds: Self fertile
Provide darkness
Needs specific temperature: 65*80
Days to germinate: 6-14, depending on temperature
Start indoors
Can handle transplanting
Other info: Direct sowing into the garden not recommended. Sow seeds into sterile seed starting mix, 1/8"-1/4" deep, indoors, 6-8 weeks prior to last expected frost date. Optimal germination occurs in 7-14 days with constant moisture and soil temperatures of 75-90F.
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Other: Suckers are easily rooted.
Pollinators: Self
Various insects
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Preferred depth: Some tomato varieties, primarily dwarf and determinate varieties, are suitable for container gardening. Large, vining, indeterminate types can be grown in 5 gallon or larger containers but may require extra attention.
Child plants: 6 child plants

Image

Let's Learn About Botanical Names for PlantsLet's Learn About Botanical Names for Plants
By dave on September 29, 2011

Genera, species, cultivars, synonyms, common names... what does it all mean? If this subject has you a little confused, allow me to cut through the confusion and show you the light.

(Full article35 comments)
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Photo gallery:
Image
By dave
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Location: MinnesotaDate: 2016-09-16
By robynanne
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Image
By dave
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Location: Mackinaw, ILDate: Aug 9, 2011 1:22 PMVery meaty.  Rich, complex flavor.  My favorite tomato!
By BookerC1
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Location: Kitchen CounterDate: 2010-07-18Cherokee Purple on a white plate
By NisiNJ
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Location: Kitchen counter.Date: 2015-08-138 ounces seems to be the average so far, as of 8/13/2015.
By pirl
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Location: Kitchen counter.Date: 2015-08-11
By pirl
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Location: MinnesotaDate: 2016-09-16
By robynanne
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Image
By dave
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Courtesy Annie's Heirloom Seeds
By vic
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Location: Work areaDate: 2015-05-18
By pirl
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Location: Work areaDate: 2015-05-18
By pirl
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Location: Work areaDate: 2015-05-18
By pirl
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Courtesy Sustainable Seed Company
By vic
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Courtesy Sustainable Seed Company
By vic
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Location: My garden in Kalama, Wa. Zone 8Date: 2014-07-29
By Joy
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 Photo Courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Used with permissi
By Joy
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Location: Oregon City, ORDate: 2015-07-23
By Aleaia
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Comments:
Posted by farmerdill (Augusta Georgia - Zone 8a) on Mar 7, 2014 3:40 PM

I have grown this one. Production was ok for a beefsteak. Here they ripen to the color of raw liver. My wife forbade me to bring them into the house. Flavor is ok, but there are lots that taste better to me and certainly look more appetizing.

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Posted by BookerC1 (Mackinaw, IL - Zone 5a) on Aug 22, 2014 8:54 PM

This was one of the first heirloom tomatoes I tried as I ventured outside the range of the hybrids commonly available in my area. I found this variety especially easy to grow from seed, and I consistently lose less to damping off than some varieties. The plants grow vigorously and are some of the larger tomato plants in my garden. They aren't a terribly prolific producer, but the rich, almost smoky flavor makes them well worth the space in my garden! This one is a constant in my garden. I have about 4 varieties that I always grow, among an average of 15-18 tomato varieties each year, and this is one of my four "keepers."

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Posted by Bonehead (Planet Earth - Zone 8b) on Sep 7, 2016 2:33 PM

Large unattractive brownish fruit, cracked really bad, didn't climb well or produce well. Will not grow again.

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Posted by BookerC1 (Mackinaw, IL - Zone 5a) on Sep 27, 2011 10:42 PM

This was my first "black" tomato, and is still my favorite tomato. Very complex, smoky flavor. Wonderful eaten plain, or used in salsa or sauces.

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Posted by Newyorkrita (North Shore, Long Island, NY ) on Sep 13, 2013 2:42 PM

Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes produce well for an heirloom with very decent fruit set. Tomatoes have a complex and unique flavor. Lovely fruit colors of smokey purple.

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Posted by coryvp (Bulverde, TX - Zone 8b) on May 29, 2016 6:06 PM

Cherokee Purple is in my top 5 favorite tomatoes (as far as flavor). The downside is that the plants have never been very productive, until this year. I usually get one or two tomatoes, but they're worth the effort. But this year I have two plants producing 9 tomatoes each, which is an interesting development.

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Posted by RavenCroft (Central NY - Zone 5a) on Mar 1, 2014 6:51 AM

I grew Cherokee Purple 2 years ago. Great fruit set, & very tasty, but very difficult to handle. The fruits are thin skinned, as are most heirlooms, & would split when picked. Although the taste & the look are great, I won't grow them again.

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Posted by pirl (Southold, Long Island, NY - Zone 7a) on Aug 13, 2015 8:17 PM

Flavor was mild, nothing exceptional.

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Posted by robynanne (Minnesota - Zone 4a) on Sep 16, 2016 8:49 AM

My notes from this year, my first year growing tomatoes from seeds: The cherokee tomato plant was one of the hardier sprouts I started. It even survived being outside through a little too much cold too early in the spring. I think it might have been damaged in that, though. The stem of the seedling was scarred after it finally grew bigger and even though I planted it in the ground with that part of the stem well underground, the plant never got very big. Maybe 4 feet total in growth.

It set tomatoes early, which I didn't prune off, so that might've been part of the reason that it was so short too. In all, it only set about seven tomatoes. Four of those tomatoes are inside now because they fell off the plant. I have never picked a cherokee tomato because they all have fallen off the plant. This is my only tomato plant that has been dropping tomatoes.

The tomato that I tasted was delicious! Easily the best tasting tomato of my garden. I plan to grow these again next year and hope to get at least one much healthier plant.

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Posted by sallyg (central Maryland) on Dec 16, 2016 8:42 PM

My second year growing these. I love the flavor, but the two plants really struggled, whereas nearby Early Girl, Celebrity, and several peppers were fantastic this year due to perfect rain. Did not seem diseased; just barely grew and yielded few (note, Mortgage Lifter also struggled). I seem to recall fair enough yield the first go round. Definitely loved the taste then too. I will try again. I like the flavor that much.
Third year growing them (2017) 4 Plants started out gangbusters, growing vigorously, setting fruit, but last few weeks plants have come to a screeching halt while ripening the fruit. And the fruit this year has been mostly quite gnarly and indented. Worse yet, many seem stuck in light pink, tonight I found several rotted out on the bottom, getting so much less useable fruit than Celebrity and Early Girl.

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Posted by gardenfish (Arkansas - Zone 7b) on Aug 9, 2019 2:01 AM

Beautiful tomato, famous heirloom variety; but a very poor yield. Matures very slowly. For a larger harvest try "Black Prince" or "Carbon", similar tasting heirlooms that produce better, have a greater yield, and are not so prone to cracking.

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Plant Events from our members
p1mkw On July 26, 2013 Plant emerged
p1mkw On July 22, 2013 Seeds sown
lovesblooms On March 16, 2016 Seeds germinated
lovesblooms On March 8, 2016 Seeds sown
indoors
LizDTM On September 30, 2017 Obtained plant
BlueHole On February 24, 2018 Obtained plant
Bought 2 plants at Home Depot Georgetown.
HydroVegetables On March 5, 2018 Seeds sown
65 seeds wanting 45 strong plants.
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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Chicagoland annual garden swap 2018 by oerickson Aug 28, 2018 7:35 PM 310
What's going on in our Spring Vegetable Gardens? by Newyorkrita May 26, 2014 10:32 AM 816

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