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Physalis heterophylla (Clammy groundcherry)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Physalis heterophylla

Physalis heterophylla Nees

Clammy Groundcherry

Solanaceae (Potato Family)


USDA Symbol: PHHE5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A sticky-hairy plant bearing 1 stalked, bell-shaped, greenish-yellow flower with a purplish-brown center in each leaf axil.

The groundcherries, with about two dozen species in eastern North America, have bell-like flowers with colored centers and inflated bladders around the fruit. The cultivated Chinese Lantern Plant (P. alkekengi) has white flowers and a showy, inflated, orange calyx in fruit.


From the Image Gallery

7 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: MB , ON , PE , QC , SK
Native Distribution: Ontario east to Nova Scotia, south to Florida, west to Texas, north to North Dakota; also in much of West.
Native Habitat: Dry woods and clearings.

Growing Conditions

Soil Moisture: Dry


Use Food: EDIBLE PARTS: Ripe fruits are edible. Collect during late July or August. Wash only with warm water; no detergent or sanitizer. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: Unripe berries and leaves. Highly Toxic, May be Fatal if eaten. Symptoms include headache, stomach pain, lowered temperature, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, circulatory and respiratory depression, loss of sensation. Toxic Principle: Solanine and other solanidine alkaloids. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Physalis heterophylla in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Physalis heterophylla in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Physalis heterophylla


Record Modified: 2023-05-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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