World Vegetable Center
This is a physiological disorder that occurs most often
on the first-formed fruits. It is more prevalent on large-
fruited, fresh-market tomatoes.
Tomato fruit are misshapen with large scars and
cavities in the blossom end. Streaks and bands of scaly,
dark greenish and tan scar tissue occur between the
swellings. The fruit may be kidney-shaped or distorted
into other shapes.
Symptoms arising from exposure of tomato plants
to hormonal herbicides such as 2,4-D may look similar
on the fruit; but catfacing does not affect the leaves
whereas herbicides will cause distortion and curling of
Conditions for Disease Development
Catfacing is caused by abnormal development of the
flower bud before blossoming. This is often due to
prolonged cool weather below 15°C when the plants are
young. High soil nitrogen levels and excessive pruning
can also create misformed flower buds.
Maintain temperatures above 16°C for production of field
transplants. Avoid high levels of soil nitrogen and
excessive pruning. Avoid growing large-fruited tomato
varieties if the disorder persists. Avoid periods where
water is lacking.
Fruits are misshapened with large scars and crevices. Vines are unaffected.
How to Identify Catfacing
Written by Ray Cerkauskas, Visiting Scientist from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Edited by Tom Kalb. Photos courtesy of
Universities of Maryland (top), Colorado State (left) and Wisconsin (center). Published by AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center; P.O. Box
42, Shanhua; Taiwan 741; ROC. tel: (886-6) 583-7801; fax: (886-6) 583-0009; email: email@example.com; web: www.avrdc.org
AVRDC Publication 04-604