I say tomato, you say tomacco

Remember that Simpsons episode where Homer creates a tomacco plant? It’s actually been done—a scientist from Ohio has managed to combine a tomato plant and a tobacco plant.

In the classic and often replayed episode‚ Homer whisks the entire family away from Springfield so he can escape a duel with a southern gent. They decide to try and live off the land at Homer’s childhood farm. After no success growing crops in the conventional way‚ Homer laces the barren fields with plutonium to “give Mother Nature a little boost.” The result is a field of tomatoes cross–bred with tobacco plants. Upon biting into the fruit‚ they discover that the tomatoes are filled with tobacco. The townspeople‚ farm animals and Bart become addicted to the “tomaccos.”

Rob Baur‚ a 53 year– old operations analyst for an Oregon wastewater treatment plant‚ was inspired by the episode and decided to try and create the world’s first tomacco plant. He first cut the tops off of a tobacco and a tomato plant and switched them onto the opposite stems—the plants simply died. He then tried hollowing a portion of each plant out and grafting them together. This time it worked.

He now has a plant growing on his kitchen table with the roots of a tobacco plant and one tomato branch. The plant has sprouted one solitary fruit. The roots are pumping tobacco juices‚ so to speak‚ into the tomato branch.

Tests have shown that the leaves do indeed contain nicotine. Now the fruit is being tested for the addictive chemical.

Baur‚ despite being pleased by his sudden notoriety‚ is now feeling anxious about the plant. If the fruit contains nicotine as well‚ the levels might be high enough to kill a human. Orally ingesting a mere 150 milligrams of nicotine can be fatal. He was thinking of selling the plant on E–bay (Homer was offered 150 million for his plant by a tobacco company)‚ but Baur is afraid that the buyer might leave the plant on an office desk or around their house where some unsuspecting person might eat the fruit. His wife allegedly yelled at him for leaving the plant on their kitchen counter‚ as it looks just like any other tomato plant.

No tobacco companies have contacted Baur yet. Many have suggested that he now try creating a tomannibis‚ or maritomato plant and see if that turns a profit‚ but he says he does not plan on it. He may however try creating another Simpson’s delight—the flaming Moe.