Billy Williams puzzled over his topadoes 7.23

Written by David Green.

Doubters come laughing, but they leave scratching their heads. And Billy Williams is every bit as puzzled as the gawkers.

What’s the fuss? He has tomatoes growing on potato plants.

Williams has a couple of rows of tomatoes growing in his back yard garden on Burley Street in Morenci and he also has a few rows of potato plants.topatoes.billy.jpg

“I thought it was a little goofy,” he said,  when he saw both yellow and white flowers on a few of the potato plants, but he didn’t think much about it until he saw tomatoes growing from those yellow blooms.

That’s when he dug down into the dirt and also found a healthy crop of potatoes down below.

“I thought there had to be a tomato plant down there,” Williams said, but there was nothing but potatoes.

He cut open a tomato and found an ordinary piece of fruit with seeds just like any tomato.

“Lots of people have looked and they can’t believe it,” he said. “I probably had 30 people over here and nobody’s seen anything like this. Nature never fails to amaze us.”

It’s baffled a lot of experienced gardeners who laughed until they came to look for themselves. Williams watched his aunt dig down. She thought there must have been an explanation down below the surface.

Maybe he grew tomatoes in that area last season. No, that’s not the case. And besides, these are cherry tomatoes and he grows a regular size crop.

Did he buy the potato seed somewhere? No, that’s not it either. Had he bought the seed somewhere, he would have suspected some genetic modification, but he cut up the Yukon Gold potatoes himself.

“I planted them just like my grandpa and dad taught me,” he said.

Among all of his potato plants, five are showing the—what do you call it, Williams wonders, a topato?

Williams did a little searching on the internet to see if could find other occurrences of the mystery, but he didn’t come up with much more than dinner ideas.

A bulletin from Iowa State University mentions tomato-like fruit on potato plants. Normally, it says, potato flowers dry up and fall off plants, but occasionally they produce fruit—a fruit that’s of no value to the gardener.

That seems to explain his strange produce, but what about the yellow flowers?

Williams isn’t sure if he wants to eat any of his topatoes—a wise move since they’re said to be high in solanine, a poisonous alkaloid found in potatoes, tomatoes and all members of the nightshade family—but there’s one other thing weighing on his mind.

“If I dig down underneath my tomatoes and find potatoes growing, I’m moving out of here.”

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017