South Dakota Native Plant Research
Solanaceae : Physalis longifolia

Solanaceae : Physalis longifolia


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Family Name


Common Name

Longleaf ground cherry

Native American Name

Lakota: tȟamníoȟpi hú


Physalis longifolia is a perennial herb from a deep caudex and spreading by shoots from lateral roots. The erect stems are usually single, 30-100 cm tall, often purplish, with a few sparse hairs, especially on younger shoots. The simple, alternate leaves have petioles 1-6 cm long and the blades are lanceolate to lance-linear or occasionally rounder approaching ovate, 3-13 cm long and 1-7 cm wide. The margins vary greatly from entire to wavey to unevenly toothed. The axillary flowers are usually single on a slender pedicel, 5-15 mm long and incr4easing in fruit. The calyx tube at anthesis is 7-12 mm long, the 5 lobes about half of the length, and with 10 lines of short hairs. The fused corolla is yellow with dark spots, 10-15 mm long. there are 5 stamens with yellow anthers, the filaments flattened and nearly as wide as the anthers. The fruit is a globose berry, yellow when ripe, 8-15 mm in diameter, surrounded by the papery calyx that extends to 2-3 cm in length. Longleaf ground cherry blooms from May into September on plains, prairies, open woodlands and roadsides in all but the extreme northeastern part of South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Longleaf ground cherry is a close relative of the tomatillos sold in the grocery store. The fruits tend to be cloyingly sweet. They are easy to grow and once established will spread and continue to produce fruit for many years. The flowers are interesting to view, but the plants are not notable in a native plant garden.

Horticulture Notes

Seed collection: Collect yellow fruit in late summer or fall. Remove the seeds from the flesh.

Germination: Seeds germinate in warm soils with light. Fall sow or start indoors 6 weeks before the last frost.

Vegetative propagation: Divide plants in the early spring.

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil: Very adaptable, will grow in most garden soils.

Water: Mesic.

Solanaceae : Physalis longifolia