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PlantFiles: Tomato
Lycopersicon lycopersicum 'Red Lightning'

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lycopersicon (ly-koh-PER-see-kon) (Info)
Species: lycopersicum (ly-koh-PER-see-kum) (Info)
Cultivar: Red Lightning

» View all varieties of Tomatoes

2 members have or want this plant for trade.

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Growing Habit:

Fruit Shape:

Fruit Size:
Medium (under one pound)

Days to Maturity:
Mid (69-80 days)

Fruit Colors:

Seed Type:
American hybrid

Fresh, salad

Disease Resistance:
Unknown - Tell us

Leaf Type:
Regular Leaf

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to view:

By MikeyJoe
Thumbnail #1 of Lycopersicon lycopersicum by MikeyJoe

By DrDoolotz
Thumbnail #2 of Lycopersicon lycopersicum by DrDoolotz

By davedigsdirt
Thumbnail #3 of Lycopersicon lycopersicum by davedigsdirt


1 positive
1 neutral
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative rwouhaybi On Mar 12, 2010, rwouhaybi from Portland, OR wrote:

I grew 2 plants of this last year. They were very healthy plants and quite productive. The taste, though, was ok, nothing special. I will not grow them again.

Negative toughgardengeek On Dec 11, 2008, toughgardengeek from Bethpage, NY wrote:

Striking to look at. But otherwise not much flavour, poor texture, tough skin.

Negative dragonfly53 On Sep 4, 2007, dragonfly53 from (Terri ) South Boston, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

It was a pretty tomato, after the fruits stopped getting the BER. However, it had tough skin, was golf ball sized and just didn't have tomato flavor. I roasted them along with Romas for sauce, they weren't worth eating raw and were kind of sour for salad/.

Negative davedigsdirt On Aug 2, 2007, davedigsdirt from Yellville, AR wrote:

Pretty but I'm not impressed with the taste at all. Sharp and too acidic. Small size and tough skins. But on the plus side - good production and no BER.

Neutral DrDoolotz On Mar 31, 2007, DrDoolotz from Oxford, NS (Zone 5b) wrote:

I grew this tomato from seed in 2006. The tomatoes are truly beautiful to look at and the plants produced a fair amount of fruit, but I grow tomatoes for the flavor, and these really didn't quite make the cut for me. They add nice color to a salad but the flavor is, well, very ordinary, in my opinion. My tastes tend towards a sweeter tomato, but with a lot of flavor to it. These were in my opinion very mild. Nice, but not a re-grow with all the other bi-colored tomatoes that I prefer.

Positive MikeyJoe On Sep 11, 2006, MikeyJoe from Clarksville, IN wrote:

This website lists Red Lightning as a"open pollinated, commercial heirloom", Burpee however maintains that is a hybrid. I have heard speculation from several knowledgeable sources that Red Lightning is indeed an open pollinated variety, most likely a cross between one of the Zebras and another unknown variety.
I plan to save seeds and grow them again next year to see what I get.

I received a single plant from a friend who had grown them from seed purchased at Burpee.
I was very surprised when my Tomatoes turned out just as pretty as those on this year's Burpee catalog cover. The coloration did vary somewhat with most appearing as mostly yellow with red streaks and some with more red and less yellow. Either way they were just as pretty as any of the five Zebra varieties I grew this year and they had far less cracking and scars. The average size was slightly larger than a golfball, comparable to Green or Black Zebras With my Zebras the color is normally as interesting on the inside as it is on the outside. With the Red Lightning the show stops when sliced, the flesh looks like any other light red Tomato on the plate.
The flavor is good, though not among my favorites.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Yellville, Arkansas
Tallahassee, Florida
Atlanta, Georgia
Clarksville, Indiana
Urbandale, Iowa
Georgetown, Massachusetts
Portland, Oregon
South Boston, Virginia

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