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Virginia Groundcherry, Ground Cherry, Lanceleaf Groundcherry, Hog Plum, Husk Tomato - Physalis virginiana


Family: Solanaceae Potato family Genus Common Name: Groundcherry Native Status: Native
Physalis virginiana - Virginia Groundcherry, Ground Cherry, Lanceleaf Groundcherry, Hog Plum, Husk Tomato. There are 29 species of Physalis found in the United States in 2012 according to the USDA Plants Database. At least one species is found in every state except Alaska, although neither of the species found in Hawaii (P. philadelphica and P. peruviana) are native to the United States. The species presented here, Physalis virginiana, is one of the more widely distributed species, being found throughout the middle and eastern United States and Canada except for Florida, Rhode Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. It is classified as Endangered in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Found in:
AL, AR, CO, CT, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY

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Distribution of Physalis virginiana in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2009. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 26 Jul 2016). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2012-June-17Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron AP AF 90MM Macro
The yellow VIrginia Groundcherry flower dangles below a five-lobed calyx which is covered with very small hairs. Similar species Physalis longifolia normally has a glabrous (hairless) calyx, and Physalis pubescens is quite hairy.
Physalis virginiana

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2012-June-16Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Each of the 5 petals of the flower have a brownish-purple marking inside near the base.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Physalis virginiana

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2012-July-01Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
This papery capsule encloses the fruit that becomes red-orange and is edible when ripe. Caution: the rest of the plant and the unripe fruit is poisonous, as is the case with many members of the Solanaceae family. As with most of the plant, it has short, usually curved hairs.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Physalis virginiana

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2012-October-14Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The fruit inside the papery capsule - green in this photo, but showing tinges of the reddish color it will become when ripe.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Physalis virginiana

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2012-June-17Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The alternate leaves of Virginia Groundcherry are ovate to lanceolate, and are usually more than 1.7 times as long as they are wide. They may be toothed or entire, and up to about 4 inches long. The plant can be up to about 2 feet tall.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Physalis virginiana

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2012-June-17Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The leaves of Physalis virginiana yield a very narrowly winged petiole. The examples Ive seen have mostly had the leaf narrow more abruptly on one side than the other.
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Physalis virginiana

Site: Walker County, GA Date: 2014-December-02Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Dried seed capsule
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Physalis virginiana

References used for identification and information:


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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2016
Photographs Copyrighted by the named photographer