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Tomato catface (420) Print Fact Sheet

Common Name

Tomato catface

Scientific Name

 None; a physiological disorder.


Worldwide. Likely in all the countries where tomatoes are grown.



Symptoms & Life Cycle

Catface is a general term that applies to tomato fruit that are deformed, mostly at the blossom end (Photo 1). In severe cases, there are lumps, outgrowths, and holes over large parts of the fruit (Photos 2-5). There is usually large areas of scar tissue surrounding or between the deformed or misshaped parts (Photos 2,4&5). The fruit itself is still edible, just unsightly.

It is a physiological conditions, i.e., not caused by a pest or disease. It is most common on larger varieties. But the cause of catface is not well understood. Generally, it is thought to be caused by any condition that causes irregular growth during blossom initiation. Some varieties are more susceptible than others.

The following causes have been suggested:


Catface is a common problem, especially on varieties with large fruits. Losses are not well reported, so impact not known.

Detection & Inspection

Look for deformed fruit - lumps, outgrowths, holes and scaring - most obvious at the blossom end of the fruit.



 To prevent catface, there are a number of cultural practices that can be tried, but they should be used in combination with tolerant varieties.

This is the most important way to manage the problem. Choose a variety that is said to tolerate the disorder. In the US, the following are said to have tolerance: Duke, Count II, Floradade, Homestead, Walter. In general, the 'older' varieties show less of the disorder than plum and cherry varieties.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from tomato, cat facing. University of Massachusetts Amherst. ( Photo 1. Union Square Green Market ( Photo 2 The green expert ( Photo 3 M.E. Bartolo, Photo 4&5 Gerald Holmes, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project HORT/2016/185: Responding to emerging pest and disease threats to horticulture in the Pacific islands, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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