Friday, September 17, 2010

Physalis subglabrata

I think I'll stick with the Latin name for this one. Who wants to be known as Smooth Groundcherry? Not a wonderful name, but much nicer than it's cousin the Clammy Groundcherry. This isn't very common here, but I see it occasionally. It is in the family Solanaceae, or the Potato Family, though I've always called it the Nightshade family and it does contain potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants. The fruit is enclosed in the husk, and when the husk turns tan and papery, the fruit is ready to eat. The appearance and texture is somewhat like a tiny tomato, but the flavor is supposed to be more like a strawberry. I've never eaten one, so I can't say for sure if that is so. You can also dry them and eat them like raisins. The leaves are poisonous.
Around here it seems to like full sun, though occasionally I see one in the shade. Since critters spread the seed, I suppose a fair number end up in places they wouldn't have chosen themselves. It is not picky about soil type and will grow in poor soils as long as it has sufficient moisture. They are susceptible to most pests of tomatoes. They are started from seed and are easy to grow in pots. I'm not sure the seed is sold, but if you see this growing by the side of the road this time of year, collect a few fruits and save the seed to plant next year.

1 comment:


Hi Jane,
The first unknown plant (pink one) is a species of Epilobium, but I can't be sure which species from the photo. These are called willow herbs in the Onagraceae family.
The small white composite flower in Eclipta prostrata.
Hope this helps!
Chris Benda