Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tomato
Lycopersicon lycopersicum 'Japanese Black Trifele'

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: Japanese Black Trifele
Additional cultivar information: (aka Japanese Trifele Black, Black Russian Truffle)

» View all varieties of Tomatoes

One vendor has this plant for sale.

29 members have or want this plant for trade.

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Ferment seeds before storing
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Growing Habit:

Fruit Shape:

Fruit Size:
Medium (under one pound)

Days to Maturity:
Mid (69-80 days)

Fruit Colors:

Seed Type:

Fresh, salad
Fresh, slicing

Disease Resistance:
Unknown - Tell us

Leaf Type:
Potato Leaf

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There are a total of 8 photos.
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9 positives
5 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral elsutor On May 19, 2014, elsutor from Penn Hills, PA wrote:

Beautiful fruit, but I too found it to be somewhat mushy and bland. Not at all what I expected from its appearance. I am growing some this year as well, so I'll give it a second chance, and this time I intend to pick early and ripen on my counter as another reviewer suggested. If it's bad this year again, they're off my to-grow list!

The plant was quite healthy, and seems to be more of a "neat" grower.

Positive teco On Feb 9, 2014, teco from Dexter, OR wrote:

My favorite tomato 2-years running. Big, dark, pears w/ great texture and flavor and a very impressive yield. Two big pluses...1)The Pear-shape sheds Oregon fall moisture, no top-splitting, and... 2)A significant number of fruits form doubles, which, when sliced, make perfect garnish for rectangular burger buns.

Positive livinonfaith On Jun 16, 2013, livinonfaith from Fuquay Varina, NC wrote:

Really like this one as they seem to be more productive for me than larger varieties. However, if you let them ripen on the plant, they can get mealy and strange tasting.

For me, the key is to pick them when the bottom has started to ripen and the shoulders are still olive green, then let them ripen on the counter over the next week or two. If you do that, they develop a nice smooth texture and a really great flavor.

Neutral RiverNymph On Apr 10, 2013, RiverNymph from the Mountains, CO (Zone 4a) wrote:

I have to agree with some on the flavor.. It wasn't watery, but it certainly wasn't the smoky/deep/earthy flavor I was hoping for from a dark variety. It was fairly ordinary in taste, and not the best producer either.

Neutral WintergalCa On Mar 2, 2013, WintergalCa from Calgary
Canada wrote:

Japanese in the name of this tomato ( some people were wondering why a Russian by origin tomato was calles Japanese) means that it was an unusual tomato at the time. A lot of plant names with 'Chinese'' or 'Japanese' in names mean that they were novelty, exotic things.

Neutral Californian On Jul 16, 2011, Californian from Fullerton, CA wrote:

Watery tomato, doesn't taste as good as any of the other black tomatoes I tried. However if one lets it get really ripe the taste improves later in the season. The fruit are more oblong than round, and don't have any catfacing.

Positive SoCalGrower12 On Jul 24, 2010, SoCalGrower12 from Wildomar, CA wrote:

One of the best tasting black tomatoes, as good as Paul Robeson. Great color, moderate production. It has a permanent spot in my garden.

Positive SLO_Garden On Jul 21, 2010, SLO_Garden from San Luis Obispo, CA wrote:

JBT is a pretty good black tomato. It is certainly not my favorite black tomato for flavor, but it is not the worst either. The pear shape is very cute. The plant is fairly compact (4 foot maximum height), is extremely prolific, and had no problems with disease. JBT was one of the first to ripen in my garden.

Neutral SigourneyBeaver On Jun 27, 2010, SigourneyBeaver from Pine Island, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I think I'm with Sequee, although I'm not going to call it the absolute worst tasting I've ever grown. Pretty darned low on my taste list, though. Seemed rather mealy.
I may try it one more year, but I'm not at all sure it's worth the space.

Negative Sequee On Jan 3, 2010, Sequee from Carmel, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

Bar none, this is the worst tasting home-grown I have ever tasted. There is a fine line between ripe and over-ripe, and if you cross that line, they have a rotten taste. Worked well for sauce, though, and heaven knows they were prolific. Kept right on going until the frost hit, but I couldn't even give them away for fresh eating.

Positive Moonglow On Aug 11, 2009, Moonglow from Corte Madera, CA wrote:

I love this tomato! Itís becoming a fast favorite. Like Russian Nesting Dolls, JBT has the biggest tomato close to the stem, and smallest at the end of each cluster. Fruits ripen to burgundy, but I love them best when it's somewhat garnet. It's almost like a jewel. It has that sheen...

Here in my garden, it's up to par with the well-regarded 'Black Krim' - - - the Tomato Police may get me on this, but JBT is doing beautifully here in Corte Madera, CA.

Japanese Black Trifele will return to the garden next year.

Positive paracelsus On Nov 7, 2008, paracelsus from Elmira, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I grew this tomato in 2008 in upstate NY. It was very prolific and very tasty. It made more tomatoes than any of my other varieties and kept up producing when the others were pooping out. Great for sauce. Shoulders do take much longer to ripen than the body. When making sauce, I cut off the shoulders.

Positive Suze_ On Dec 13, 2007, Suze_ from (Zone 7b) wrote:

I grew this variety for fall crop, and didn't pick fruits until Dec, so it's hard to make an accurate evaluation of flavor. Considering the weather, flavor was fairly good.

Positive LooneyLinda On Jun 29, 2007, LooneyLinda from Mantua, UT (Zone 4b) wrote:

I grew this tomato last year. The taste almost seemed like sage had been grown next to it and it picked up the flavor. It may be an acquired taste, but I liked it.

Positive hurono On Sep 20, 2005, hurono from Troy, OH wrote:

One of my favorite black tomatoes. Its Russian in origin, no one seems to know where the Japanese name came from. Unique shape, I can't think of anyother tomato like it, It is like the the early spacecraft that John Glenn and the early astronauts flew in. taste is similar to Black Krim. Fairly prolific but quit after awhile. Still a real winner!


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

Sierra Vista, Arizona
Alameda, California
Altadena, California
Bonsall, California
Corte Madera, California
Fullerton, California
Los Angeles, California
Morgan Hill, California
Orangevale, California
San Luis Obispo, California
West Hills, California
Wildomar, California
Bokeelia, Florida
Brockton, Massachusetts
Carmel, New York
Fuquay Varina, North Carolina
Felicity, Ohio
Troy, Ohio
Dexter, Oregon
Scio, Oregon
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Wexford, Pennsylvania
Vieques, Puerto Rico
North Augusta, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Elgin, Texas
Liberty Hill, Texas
Lipan, Texas
San Marcos, Texas
Temple, Texas
Camano Island, Washington
Grand Mound, Washington

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