Clammy Ground Cherry, Physalis heterophylla
Solanaceae or Nightshade Family

Plant with flower

Spreading,erect to sprawling plant, about a foot tall. Leaves broadly egg-shaped, rounded or heart-shaped at base, weakly and coarsely toothed, not opposite each other. Stems and leaves with long hairs, some of which produce sticky secretions. Flowers yellow, bell-shaped, about 3/4 inch long, with 5 pointed lobes and 5 dark spots inside at base. Blooms in summer. Fruits green, turning red to purple, tomato-like berries inside little papery lanterns.

A native relative of the tomatillo. Occasional in the Great South Meadow.

The bell-like flowers with internal blotches and the fruits in their little lanterns are characteristic of this genus. A number of species occur in Virginia, but only this one and Smooth ground cherry (P. longifolia) are known from Wildwood. That species has leaves and stems that are not sticky, but slightly rough to the touch. It is a more erect plant and has yellow fruit.



Leaf underside


Unripe fruit

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