Catfacing in two unripe tomatoes

Catfacing symptoms are associated with adverse growing conditions during blossoming; the adverse conditions result in poor pollination, which leads to irregularly shaped fruit. Catface symptoms are most often seen in large-fruited, fresh market varieties (although other varieties can also be affected) and are associated with disturbances in flower production such as low temperature, injury 3-weeks before flowers are mature, especially in early plantings, but also with injury from growth regulators such as 2,4-d. Pruning and high nitrogen can also aggravate the problem.[1]


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.[2]




Maintain temperatures above 10°C (50°F) for production of field transplants. If you believe temperatures may drop below this mark you can try[3]:

  • Putting the plants in a coldframe or greenhouse to maintain temperatures
  • Wait until planting. Wait until the weather is likely to maintain higher temperatures

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. [2]



  1. P, Bachi. (2008). "catfacing". "Forestry Images". Image Number: 5368977. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
  2. a b (2007). "Tomato Disorders - Catfacing". AVDRC - The World Vegetable Center. Retreived 2010-07-18.
  3. Tee. Tomato Quirks Part 1 – Catfacing. Veggie Gardener. Retrieved: 2010-07-25.