Introduced by the Livingston Seed Company in the late 1800s as ‘Honor Bright’, this heirloom tomato is now also known as ‘Livingston’s Honor Bright’, and as ‘Lutescent’ too. If you’re a hosta collector, you may recognize “lutescent” as the term used to describe hostas with leaves that lighten from dark green to light green, or chartreuse to yellow, as the growing season progresses, as it does on ‘Sun Power’, for example. On this tomato, it refers to the overall greenish yellow color of the leaves, though it stays pretty much the same through the growing season.
To be completely honest, ‘Lutescent’ looks like it could use a good dose of nitrogen fertilizer, especially when it is growing near “normal” tomato plants. Fortunately, it has some other noteworthy features besides the unusual foliage and its long history. For one, the flowers are ivory-white, instead of the usual yellow.
And the fruits are quite colorful—particularly eye-catching when they are at different ripening stages in one clusters, as they turn from ivory-yellow through orange to red. They are flavorful too—perhaps the best reason that this variety has been around for so long. Taken all together, these features make ‘Lutescent’ an interesting addition to any vegetable garden.
Harvested in August 2019. At least 10 seeds. I did not grow ‘Lutescent’ in 2020, as I plant only a few varieties each year to minimize the possibility of cross-pollination, so these 2019 seeds will be on sale until December 31, 2020. I may have a new batch available in fall of 2021.