The different tomato varieties are classified in 4 botanical varieties: vulgare, cherry-shaped, pear-shaped, validum and grandiflorum, according to the type of fruit and plant. They are also classified according to the use (fresh or industry), shape, or colour of the fruit. According to European quality regulations, 4 commercial types are classified: round, ribbed, oblong, and cherry.
Within the species of tomato the following botanical varieties are classified:
- Variety commune or vulgare, characterized by its small leaves, with multiple even or slightly ribbed loculi.
- Variety cherry-shaped: these varieties include cherry tomatoes. They have small leaves and bulbous fruit of small size.
- Variety pear-shaped: pear-shaped fruit, usually with two loculi.
- Variety validum: plants of turgid and compact habit, of low development.
- Variety grandiflorum: these plants are characterized by having wide and flat leaves, with few folioles, usually 5, which are whole or slightly depressed, and very few secondary folioles.
The tomato varieties can also be classified by commercial criteria; thus, we may refer to tomatoes for fresh consumption or intended for the industry; plants of determinate or indeterminate growth; with different types of fruit (large / small, soft / ribbed, etc.); different colour of the fruit, which can be red, pink, yellow, etc. and by other many characteristics. The European quality standards distinguish four commercial types: " round end even", " ridged", " oblong" and " cherry’.
For many years there has been a development of the technique to obtain and use tomato hybrids, that are basically obtained from the cross of two different varieties, thus conferring them multiple advantages, such as greater plant vigour, higher production, earliness or better fruit quality.
Genetic improvements have brought about the tomatoes known as "long life’. They are characterized by a longer postharvest life, keeping their taste or consistency characteristics in satisfactory conditions for their sale.
Some of the mostly used hybrid varieties in Spain are, among others, Bodar, Bond, Brillante, Carolina, Arturo, Atlanta, etc. Nevertheless, in some familiar orchards the traditional varieties, like Cuarenteno, Muchamiel, Pometa, Valenciano, etc. are still cultivated.