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Physalis_peruviana - L.

Common Name Goldenberry, Peruvian groundcherry
Family Solanaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards All parts of the plant, except the fruit, are poisonous[19, 65].
Habitats Coastal regions and disturbed areas from sea level to 4500 metres.
Range S. America - Peru. Naturalized in C. and S. Europe.
Edibility Rating    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Physalis_peruviana Goldenberry, Peruvian groundcherry

Physalis_peruviana Goldenberry, Peruvian groundcherry


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Physalis_peruviana is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to October, and the seeds ripen from August to November. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked in pies, cakes, jellies, compotes, jams etc[1, 2, 3, 34, 183]. A delicious bitter-sweet flavour, it has smaller but sweeter fruits than the cultivar 'Edulis'[K]. The dried fruit can be used as a raisin substitute, though it is not so sweet[183]. 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. The fruit is rich in vitamin A (3000 I.U. of carotene per 100g), vitamin C and some of the B complex (thiamine, niacin and B12)[196]. The protein and phosphorus levels are exceptionally high for a fruit[196]. The fruit is a berry about 2cm in diameter[200]. The dried fruit is said to be a substitute for yeast[183]. If picked carefully with the calyx intact, the fruit can be stored for 3 months or more[196]. The fruit is about 2cm in diameter[196].

References   More on Edible Uses

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.

The leaf juice has been used in the treatment of worms and bowel complaints[240]. The plant is diuretic[240].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Succeeds in a sheltered position in any well-drained soil in full sun or light shade[196, 200]. Prefers a rich loam[38] but tolerates poor soils[196]. If the soil is too rich it encourages leaf production at the expense of fruiting[196]. Plants tolerate a pH in the range 4.5 to 8.2[196]. The Cape Gooseberry is an evergreen shrub in its native environment. It is not very cold-hardy in Britain, however, though it can succeed outdoors as a herbaceous perennial in the mildest areas of the country or when grown in favoured positions such as the foot of a sunny wall. Some cultivars will tolerate temperatures down to about -10° when grown in this way[K]. It would be wise to apply a good protective mulch to the roots in late autumn after the top growth has been cut back by frosts. In most areas of Britain, however, it needs to be grown as an annual in much the same way as tomatoes. The plant is usually naturally bushy, but it can be useful to pinch out the growing tip whilst the shoots are less than 30cm tall in order to encourage side shoots[K]. This species is often cultivated for its edible fruit in warm temperate and tropical zones, there are some named varieties[3, 183]. 'Edulis' is the most common cultivar in Britain, it has considerably larger fruits than the species but these do not have quite such a good flavour[K]. Yields of 20 tonnes per hectare are common in S. America, 33 tonnes has been achieved[196].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant 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 after the last expected frosts. Consider giving them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away well. Diurnal temperature fluctuations assist germination[170]. Division in spring[111]. This is best done without digging up the plant. Remove young shoots that are growing out from the side of the clump, making sure that some of the below ground shoot is also removed. It is best if this has some roots on, but the shoot should form new roots fairly quickly if it is potted up and kept for a few weeks in a shady but humid part of the greenhouse[K].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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 NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Physalis peruvianaGoldenberry, Peruvian groundcherryPerennial1.2 10-12  LMHSNM510

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

Corey   Mon Dec 18 2006

If Microsoft designed a fruit, the physalis peruviana would be it. 'nuff said.

TURGAY CEPNÝ   Tue Jul 8 2008

Dear Sir/Madam, I want to grow physalis peruviana in Eastern Blacksea of Turkey. Please send me information how I can growt it.

   Sun Jul 27 2008

When do you harvest P. edulis?

barry glennie   Tue Oct 14 2008

i grow physallis plants in the uk survive southern winters outside have hardie stock for sale

wirdan mahzumi   Fri Feb 6 2009

in my country, indonesia, regency Sekadau, Kalimantan Barat province, i saw many physalis peruviana grow, we used for malaria or diabetitic mellitus, we are drink one glass, leaf with warm water.

Peter LEWIN   Fri Oct 23 2009

I have grown five plants from seed, and have transplanted them twice. They live on my lounge window ledge, and receive about 21C during the evening, and whatever heat comes from the sun during the day. My problem is that they have grown to about 5-6' and try to flower but they are weak, and eventually drop off. Two questions if anyone can help..can I cut the centre stems down, and will they survive throughout the year? So, growing Northern UK, and plenty of shubbery. Cheers, Peter

david   Fri Oct 23 2009

Clipping growing tips is usually recommended (to make it compact) rather than cutting the main stem, if grown for over a year they can be pruned right back to encourage new growth that will produce fruit(info from Discovering Fruit and Nuts by S Lyle). In my experiece this plant does not like it too dry, that or something else may be the problem.

   Jan 15 2012 12:00AM

If growing from seed, I would recommend sowing in Jan-Feb indoors as they take about a month to germinate and are very slow to grow for the first two months. Further, growth takes a while to start again after transplanting. These will grow vigorously outside in the UK. I would imagine they would have no problem growing even in Scandinavia. When all else had died in my garden, these were still growing vigorously through into January, when the frosts killed them. The problem with Physalis p. is that the fruit doesn't have adequate conditions to ripen in the UK; at least not in Shropshire. They may fare better in region 9 areas, but as they ripen late I think these would require a poly-tunnel anywhere in the UK. Although the plants have no problem with producing 75-100 fruits per plant, only one or two will fully ripen and a handful of others will half ripen. There are reports that this can only be grown as an annual in the UK, but the roots should survive the winter, especially if given some protection. If growing outside, it will also need some protection from wind. The stems are extremely prone to breaking.

B12 and human health   Feb 9 2012 12:00AM

B12 - I think that this must be a typographical error. True B12 as an essential dietary additive has not been found in any plant material yet. The inactive forms found in algae have been studied and are at best neutral and sometimes harmful within the human diet.
Vegan Outreach

   May 22 2012 12:00AM

I have been consuming these berries for a couple of months now, both dehydrated (like raisins) and cooked with porridge, rice, just about anything. They are extremely tart though occasionally there really is one that has a hint of pineapple flavor. I mention this because in Denmark, they are called ananas berries, but most of the berries I get (from Ecuador) are really sour. I got them because of a sudden crisis with my vision. This had been almost impossible to manage until adding these to my diet.

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