Smooth Ground Cherry, Physalis longifolia var. subglabrata
(Called Physalis subglabrata in some books.)
Solanaceae or Nightshade Family


Erect plant, 1 to 3 feet tall. Leaves broadly egg-shaped, rounded or heart-shaped at base, weakly or coarsely toothed, not opposite each other. Stems and leaves have a few flattened hairs, and feel a little bit rough. Flowrs yellow, bell-shaped, about 5/8 of an inch long, with 5 pointed lobes and 5 dark spots at base. Blooms in summer. Fruits yellowish, tomato-like berries inside little papery lanterns.

Native relative of the tomatillo. Occasional in Wildwood, along the Bikeway.

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 clammy ground cherry (P. heterophylla) are known from Wildwood. That species has leaves and stems that are sticky and a red to purple fruit. Our plants are considered variety subglabrata; the typical variety is western and has narrower leaves with no teeth.

Flower from side



Hairs on stem