Physalis longifolia, known by the common names common groundcherry, longleaf groundcherry, and wild tomatillo, 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, and northern Mexico. It has also been noted as an introduced species in other regions, including parts of the United States outside its native range. In some areas, such as California, it is an occasional noxious weed.
This species is a perennial herb growing 20 to 60 centimeters tall with somewhat oval-shaped leaf blades 4 to 7 centimeters long borne on petioles. Flowers occur in the leaf axils. The bell-shaped corolla is up to 2 centimeters wide and is yellow with purplish markings around the center. The husk covering the berry is up to 3.5 centimeter long with 10 veins.
- 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." Native American groups used it for food. The Puebloan peoples called the fruits charoka and shuma charoka and ate them fresh or cooked.
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.
P. longifolia is easy to grow in trials and produces a flavorful fruit.
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- "Physalis longifolia". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- 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.
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