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Flaigg, Norman G.
Quincula lobata (Torr.) Raf.
Purple groundcherry, Chinese lantern
USDA Symbol: QULO2
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Purple groundcherry grows almost flat on the ground. Leaves are alternate, 1 1/2–3 inches long and not quite as broad, often coarsely toothed or deeply cut, with rounded lobes. The flower is bluish-purple, with 5 united petals that open out to form a flat surface 3/4–1 1/4 inches across. It has 5 stamens with yellow anthers. This flower seems not to be much affected by drought.
It is an attractive, low-growing, full sun or light shade groundcover for much of the Southwest, with purple, blue, or white flowers and fuzzy, gray-green leaves. It blooms until frost, when the top dies, but the roots continue to expand throughout the winter, sending up new growth in the spring for a larger colony each year. The berry is edible, but caution is advised, for the flower resembles some of those of Solanum, a genus with both edible and deadly berries. Purple Groundcherry was formerly placed in the genus Physalis, but the purple flower and the flat, scale-like hairs on the leaves are considered distinctive.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Breeding System:
Flowers Bisexual Size Notes:
No more than 6 inches tall Leaf:
Flower 1 inch
4-7 mm Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
Bloom Notes: Blooms until frost.
AZ , CA , CO , KS , NM , NV , OK , TX , UT Native Distribution:
Southeastern California east across southern Nevada to southeastern Utah, eastern Colorado, and western Kansas, and south to western Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico. Native Habitat:
Woodland edges, forest openings, fields USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Well-drained sand, sandy loam, loam, clay, caliche
Conditions Comments: Prefers full sun or light shade, like under a mesquite tree.
Low-growing, decorative, deciduous
ground cover for the Southwest Use Food:
Berries edible, but be sure youve got the right plant, as similar-looking species in the genera Physalis
can be toxic. Conspicuous Flowers:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
- Austin, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1009
Collected 2011-04-06 in Starr County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
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Record Modified: 2009-03-15
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG