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Question: a particular rootstock

hi, as a kid I saw turning with my father to farms a place where cherry tomatoes, aubergines, peppers grafted on a strange plant full of thorns that said they were tropical were cultivated. Can you give me information? they called it rootstocks, but I think it's a general name. thanks to those who will know how to answer me

Rootstock: Answer: the rootstock

Dear Giulio,
tomatoes and aubergines are solanaceous, meaning they belong to the same family; to better control diseases of various types it has been used for many years to graft the best-selling varieties of tomatoes and aubergines on very vigorous rootstocks, or particularly resistant to pests and diseases, or even to drought or cold, for more prolonged and more precocious crops ; the term rootstock indicates the plant that carries the graft, and not a particular species or variety, for example the melocotogno is often used as a rootstock for the most common varieties of apples. Typically, as rootstocks, plants of particular varieties of tomatoes or aubergines are used, or even hybrids between the species, and therefore it often happens that the rootstock has physical characteristics that deviate significantly from those of the plant being grafted. In particular, in your case, I think you have seen some tomato and eggplant plants grafted onto another solanaceae, or Solanum torvum: it is a solanacea native to Central and South America, which becomes a real thorny shrub , which also bears winter cold well; this solanum is very resistant to fungal diseases and nematodes, and these characteristics are inherited from the plants that are grafted onto it. In the fields, the use of this very vigorous rootstock, in addition to improving the quantity of fruit produced, also leads to considerable savings on treatments with phytosanitary products, which is economically and ecologically very advantageous. Consider that this solanum can become about 3-4 meters high, so if you want to try growing it in your garden you can produce a kind of tree, which instead of producing apples, will produce eggplant, or tomatoes (or both if you want to graft them on the same stem ). The solanaceae spread throughout the world are so many, and therefore it is not certain that in your case this is precisely this solanum, it could easily be solanum sodomaeum, or large solanum melogena plants of a particular variety (eggplant). The practice of grafting in horticulture is increasingly applied, and not only in the fields of intensive production: now small grafted plants are also available for the hobbyist, who can then cultivate them in his vegetable garden. The most widespread rootstocks are hybrid tomato plants, of the F1 Resistar or Natalya varieties; but in each area different characteristics of the various rootstocks are exploited: in Catania they look for rootstocks resistant to drought; in Parma we look for rootstocks resistant to the cool and humid climate. Most of the rootstocks have in common a particular resistance to diseases and parasites, a very interesting feature also for the vegetable garden behind the house.