|Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana) leaves and fruit|
About 80, see text
Physalis (//, sometimes //) is a genus of plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae), native to warm temperate and subtropical regions throughout the world. The genus is characterised by the small orange fruit similar in size, shape and structure to a small tomato, but partly or fully enclosed in a large papery husk derived from the calyx. Many Physalis species are called groundcherries. One name for Physalis peruviana is Cape Gooseberry, not to be confused with the true gooseberries, which are of the genus Ribes in the family Grossulariaceae.
They are herbaceous plants growing to 0.4–3 m tall, similar to the common tomato - a relative - but usually with a stiffer, more upright stem; they can be either annual or perennial. Most require full sun and fairly warm to hot temperatures. Some species are sensitive to frost, though others such as P. alkekengi (Chinese lantern) tolerate severe cold when dormant in winter.
Cultivation and uses
These plants grow in most soil types and do very well in poor soils and in pots. They need lots of water throughout the growing year, except towards fruit-ripening time. Plants are susceptible to many of the common tomato diseases and pests; other pests such as aphids, white flies, spider mites, and the false potato beetle (Leptinotarsa juncta) also attack them. Propagation is by seed. Some species are self-incompatible and require multiple plants for fruit set.
The typical Physalis fruit is similar to a firm tomato (in texture), and like strawberries or other fruit in flavor; they have a mild, refreshing acidity. Most – but not all – physalis species produce edible fruits, with a basic flavor recalling a tomato/pineapple-like blend. Some species like cape gooseberries and tomatillos have numerous named cultivars, which offer a range of flavors from tart to sweet to savory. Physalis fruit have around 53 kcal for 100 grams, and are rich in cryptoxanthin.
Its uses are similar to the common tomato or to fruits with a refreshing taste. Once extracted from its husk, it may be eaten raw or used in salads, desserts, as a flavoring, and in jams and jellies. They can also be dried and eaten much like raisins or other small dried fruit. Cape gooseberries contain large amounts of pectin, and are therefore suitable for jams and pies.
The cape gooseberry is native to the Americas, but is commonly grown and feral in many subtropical areas, including South Africa (the "Cape" in the common name). Another important commercial type is the tomatillo (P. philadelphica). Physalis fruit are significant as an export product e.g. for Colombia.
In Chinese medicine, the Physalis is used as a remedy for abscesses, coughs, fevers and sore throats, among others. Smooth groundcherry (P. subglabrata) is considered a hallucinogenic plant by some, and its cultivation for other than ornamental purposes is outlawed in Louisiana by State Act 159. However, its use as a hallucinogen does not appear widespread.
The extinct Dacian language has left few traces, but in De Materia Medica by Pedanius Dioscorides, a plant called Strychnos alikakabos (Στρύχνος άλικακάβος) is discussed, which was called kykolis (or cycolis) by the Dacians. Some have considered this plant to be Physalis alkekengi, but Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has been proposed as an alternative candidate and indeed this widely-traded medical plant seems to be a better match.
- Physalis acutifolia (Miers) Sandw. – Sharp-leaved Groundcherry, Wright Groundcherry
- Physalis alkekengi L. – Chinese Lantern, Bladder-cherry, Japanese Lantern, "winter-cherry", hōzuki (Japanese)
- Physalis angulata L. – Cut-leaved Groundcherry, Lance-leaved Groundcherry, camapu
- Physalis angustifolia Nutt. – Coastal Groundcherry
- Physalis arenicola Kearney – Cypress-headed Groundcherry
- Physalis carpenteri Riddell ex Rydb. – Carpenter's Groundcherry
- Physalis caudella Standl. – Southwestern Groundcherry
- Physalis cinerascens (Dunal) A.S. Hitchc. – Small-flowered Groundcherry
- Physalis clarionensis
- Physalis cordata Mill. – Heart-leaved Groundcherry
- Physalis coztomatl Moc. & Sessé ex Dunal
- Physalis crassifolia Benth. – Thick-leaved Groundcherry, Yellow Nightshade Groundcherry
- Physalis foetens Poir. – Tropical Groundcherry
- Physalis grisea (Waterfall) Martínez – Strawberry-tomato
- Physalis hederifolia A.Gray – Ivy-leaved Groundcherry
- Physalis heterophylla Nees – Clammy Groundcherry
- Physalis hispida (Waterfall) Cronq. – Prairie Groundcherry
- Physalis latiphysa Waterfall – Broad-leaved Groundcherry
- Physalis longifolia Nutt. – Common Groundcherry, Long-leaved Groundcherry
- Physalis mimulus
- Physalis minima L. – Pygmy Groundcherry, Native Gooseberry (Australia)
- Physalis missouriensis Mackenzie & Bush – Missouri Groundcherry
- Physalis mollis Nutt. – Field Groundcherry
- Physalis noronhae
- Physalis peruviana L. – Cape Gooseberry, Peruvian Groundcherry, Inca Berry, uchuva (Colombia), poha
- Physalis philadelphica Lam. (= P. ixocarpa) – Tomatillo, Mexican Groundcherry, Jamberry, Mexican Tomato, tomate de cáscara, tomate de fresadilla, tomate milpero, tomate verde
- Physalis pruinosa L. – Strawberry Groundcherry
- Physalis pubescens L. – Golden Strawberry or Chinese Lantern
- Physalis pumila Nutt. – Dwarf Groundcherry
- Physalis subglabrata Mack. & Bush – Smooth Groundcherry
- Physalis subulata Rydb. – Chihuahuan Groundcherry
- Physalis turbinata Medik. – Thicket Groundcherry
- Physalis virginiana Mill. – Virginia Groundcherry
- Physalis viscosa L. – Grape Groundcherry, Star-haired Groundcherry
- Physalis walteri Nutt. – Walter's Groundcherry
Formerly placed here
- Deprea orinocensis (Kunth) Raf. (as P. orinocensis Kunth)
- Leucophysalis grandiflora (Hook.) Rydb. (as P. grandiflora Hook.)
- Quincula lobata (Torr.) Raf. (as P. lobata Torr.)
- Salpichroa origanifolia (Lam.) Baill. (as P. origanifolia Lam.)
- Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal (as P. somnifera L.)
- "Genus: Physalis L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2010-04-14.
- Oxford English Dictionary online, http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50178256
- "Physalis". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
- Duke, J. A.; Ayensu. E. S (1985). Reference Publications, Inc., ed. Medicinal Plants of China. ISBN 0-917256-20-4. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- Berendes (1902): 405-408
- English and Mexican name. Refers to small tomato cultivars elsewhere.
- "GRIN Species Records of Physalis". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
- Berendes, J. (ed.): Arzneimittellehre in fünf Büchern des Pedanios Dioskurides aus Anazarbos. Stuttgart. JPEG fulltext
- "Groundcherries, (cape-gooseberries or poha), raw". Nutrition Facts. Self Nutrition Data.
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