Physalis longifolia

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Physalis longifolia
Physalis subglabrata.jpg
var. subglabrata

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Physalis
Species: P. longifolia
Binomial name
Physalis longifolia

Physalis longifolia, known by the common names common groundcherry, longleaf groundcherry,[1] and wild tomatillo,[2] is a species of flowering plant in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. It is native to North America, where it is native to eastern Canada, much of the continental United States,[1] and northern Mexico. It has also been noted as an introduced species in other regions,[3] including parts of the United States outside its native range. In some areas, such as California, it is an occasional noxious weed.[4][5]

This species is a perennial herb growing 20–60 cm (7.9–23.6 in) tall with somewhat oval-shaped leaf blades 4–7 cm (1.6–2.8 in) long borne on petioles. Flowers occur in the leaf axils. The bell-shaped corolla is up to 2 cm (0.79 in) wide and is yellow with purplish markings around the center. The husk covering the berry is up to 3.5 cm (1.4 in) long with ten veins.[4]

There are two varieties:[3][6]

  • P. longifolia var. longifolia
  • P. longifolia var. subglabrata (syn. P. subglabrata)


The yellow-green fruit is edible. The fresh fruit "tastes like an effervescent, under-ripened strawberry", and the dried berry "tastes like a cross between a raisin and dried cranberry."[2] Native American groups used it for food. The Puebloan peoples called the fruits charoka and shuma charoka and ate them fresh or cooked.[2]

The Zuni people referred to the plant and its relative Physalis hederifolia as Ke’tsitokia, and probably used them in similar ways. Women grew it in household gardens. The tomato-flavored berry was boiled and ground with onion, coriander, and chilis to make a dish considered to be a delicacy. The fruit was also dried and mixed into flour for bread. Today the Zuni use the closely related common tomatillo (P. philadelphica) in a sauce recipe derived from the traditional dishes that used wild species.[2]

The var. subglabrata has been listed in government compendia[which?] of restricted taxa believed to be hallucinogenic, but this is likely inaccurate.[2]

P. longifolia is easy to grow in trials and produces a flavorful fruit.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Physalis longifolia". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 2 October 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Kindscher, K.; Long, Q.; Corbett, S.; Bosnak, K.; Loring, H.; Cohen, M.; Timmermann, B. N. (2012). "The Ethnobotany and Ethnopharmacology of Wild Tomatillos, Physalis longifolia Nutt., and Related Physalis Species: A Review" (pdf). Economic Botany. 66 (3): 298–310. doi:10.1007/s12231-012-9210-7. 
  3. ^ a b "Physalis longifolia". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 14 January 2018. 
  4. ^ a b "Physalis longifolia". The Jepson eFlora. Berkeley: Jepson Herbarium, University of California. 2013. 
  5. ^ "Physalis longifolia". Calflora. 2013. 
  6. ^ Physalis longifolia. ITIS.