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Physalis alkekengi - L.

Common Name Winter Cherry, Strawberry groundcherry,Ground Cherry, Chinese Lantern
Family Solanaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards All parts of the plant, except the ripe fruit, are poisonous[19, 65, 238].
Habitats Cultivated ground and vineyards[147]. Hedgerows and by damp paths, from the plains to the lower slopes of mountains[7].
Range Asia - Caucasus to China. Occasionally naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Physalis alkekengi Winter Cherry, Strawberry groundcherry,Ground Cherry, Chinese  Lantern


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Illustration_Physalis_alkekengi0_clean.jpg
Physalis alkekengi Winter Cherry, Strawberry groundcherry,Ground Cherry, Chinese  Lantern
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Llez

 

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Summary

Bloom Color: Orange. Main Bloom Time: Early fall, Late summer. Form: Irregular or sprawling.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Physalis alkekengi is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

P. francheti. P. latifolia.

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit;  Leaves.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[1, 2, 105]. Rich in vitamins[100], with twice the vitamin C of lemons[179], but not much taste[178]. Another report says that they are juicy but with a bitter acrid flavour[4], whilst another says that they add a delicious flavour to salads[7]. We have found them to be bitter and rather unpleasant[K]. The fruit is a berry about 17mm in diameter[200]. The plant conveniently wraps up each fruit in its own 'paper bag' (botanically, the calyx) to protect it from pests and the elements. This calyx is toxic and should not be eaten[34, 65]. Young leaves - cooked[105, 170, 179]. Caution is advised, the leaves are almost certainly poisonous, at least when raw.

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiphlogistic;  Antirheumatic;  Antitussive;  Aperient;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Febrifuge;  Homeopathy;  
Lithontripic.

The plant has a long history of herbal use, and an interesting chemistry, but it is seldom used in modern practice[238]. The whole plant is antiphlogistic, antipyretic, antitussive and expectorant[9, 61, 147, 178, 218]. It has been used in the treatment of urinary and skin diseases[240]. Some caution is recommended since an overdose of the plant is said to easily precipitate an abortion[218]. The fruit is aperient, strongly diuretic and lithontripic[4, 7, 9, 218]. It is used internally in the treatment of gravel, suppression of urine etc and is highly recommended in fevers and in gout[4, 238]. The fruit is harvested when fully ripe and can be used fresh, juiced or dried[238]. The calyx should be removed[238]. The leaves and stems are febrifuge and slightly tonic[4]. They are used in the treatment of the malaise that follows malaria, and for weak or anaemic people[4]. The fresh leaves have been used externally to make soothing poultices in the treatment of skin inflammations[238, 244]. The seed is used to promote early labour[218]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fruit. It is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder disorders[9].

Other Uses

None known

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container. Succeeds in any well-drained soil in full sun or light shade[111, 200]. The fully dormant plant is hardy in most of Britain, though the young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. A very ornamental plant[1] though it can be invasive[200]. The sub-species P. alkekengi francheti. Mak. (sometimes treated as a separate species) is a more vigorous form of the species with larger fruits[200]. Slugs are very fond of the new growth in spring and can destroy even quite large clumps[K]. Special Features: Naturalizing, Suitable for dried flowers.

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Propagation

Seed - sow March/April in a greenhouse only just covering the seed. Germination usually takes place quickly and freely. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of fairly rich soil when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in early summer. Diurnal temperature fluctuations assist germination[170]. Division in spring[111]. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer. Basal cuttings in early summer[111]. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 - 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Physalis acutifoliaSharp-Leaf Ground Cherry20
Physalis alkekengi franchetiiWinter Cherry22
Physalis angulataCutleaf Ground Cherry31
Physalis angustifoliaCoastal groundcherry20
Physalis arenicolaCypresshead groundcherry20
Physalis carpenteriCarpenter's groundcherry20
Physalis caudellaSouthwestern groundcherry20
Physalis crassifoliaYellow nightshade groundcherry20
Physalis foetens 20
Physalis foetens neomexicana 20
Physalis greenei 20
Physalis hederaefolia cordifoliaGround Cherry20
Physalis heterophyllaClammy Ground Cherry, Rowell's groundcherry31
Physalis ixocarpaTomatillo40
Physalis lanceolataGround Cherry, Sword groundcherry21
Physalis latiphysaBroadleaf groundcherry20
Physalis macrophysaBladder Ground Cherry, Longleaf groundcherry20
Physalis minimaSunberry, Pygmy groundcherry31
Physalis missouriensisMissouri groundcherry20
Physalis obscura 20
Physalis peruvianaGoldenberry, Peruvian groundcherry51
Physalis philadelphicaWild Tomatillo, Mexican groundcherry41
Physalis pruinosaStrawberry Tomato30
Physalis pubescensGround Cherry, Husk tomato41
Physalis pumilaPrairie Ground Cherry, Dwarf groundcherry20
Physalis subglabrataLongleaf groundcherry20
Physalis variovestitaField groundcherry20
Physalis virginianaVirginia Ground Cherry21
Physalis virginiana sonorae 20
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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Claire   Sat Jul 8 2006

I need to know how to keep dark yellow segmented worms off of these plants.

   Mon Oct 1 2007

I have grown these for a number of years. When properly developed and ripened; the fruit is sweet, pleasant and, similar in taste and appearance to P.peruviana; but smaller, more vivid orange in colour and, perhaps a little less juicy. If not properly developed/ripened (due for example to climatic conditions, e.g. UK weather) the fruit is bitter, inedible and possibly poisonous.

   Apr 18 2014 12:00AM

I love it for its ornamental value when the clothed fruit arrives and changes in colour for months. I had become curious about which solanacea family members' leaves one could eat. Searched the web, of course also PFAF, where I got the information young Physalis alkekengi leaves, when cooked, were edible. So I tried it. But, despite I like bitter food, this was far too bitter for my taste and against my will, I had to spit out the thoroughly cooked (in water with some butter) young Physalis alkekengi leaves. But, my dinner wasn't ruined, as I had another saucepan with goji leaves. A true treasure. makes an unbelievably good substitute for spinach, richer than the latter in its medicinal virtues. So, although it were much easier to harvest Physalis alkekengi leaves as they are much bigger than Goji (Lycium barbarum), I'll never try Physalis alkekengi leaves anymore. But still love its sweet-'n sour red nature-wrapped fruits.

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