For some time I have suffered from a skin complaint, possibly eczema or similar. Painful hands, drying, splitting skin, sent me off for serious medication as there was nothing I tried that worked. As time passed, I realised most of the skin irritation was after working with tomatoes. Just checking and removing the offshoots was enough to send me into a frenzy of scratching, and piling cream on my hands, even to the stage of soaking my hands in very hot water to get relief.
Apparently the little hairs on the tomato stems are a defence against pests! I care for them, water them and feed them and make sure they are comfortably supported but this apparently counts for nothing. They fend me off – with hairs. They are like poison darts, they contain trichomes. Trichomes are responsible for their lovely scent and at the same time they are also defending themselves against bacteria, fungal and viral infections. I will need to try to treat the tomatoes with a bit more respect but it took an allergic reaction to understand why they do that.
Sometimes I get the feeling we are surplus to requirements in the plant world.