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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 14 | Solanaceae | Physalis

13. Physalis heterophylla Nees, Linnaea. 6: 463. 1831.
[E W]

Physalis ambigua (A. Gray) Britton; P. heterophylla var. ambigua (A. Gray) Rydberg; P. heterophylla var. clavipes Fernald; P. heterophylla var. nyctaginea (Dunal) Rydberg; P. heterophylla var. villosa Waterfall; P. nyctaginea Dunal; P. sinuata Rydberg

Herbs perennial, rhizomatous, rhizomes deeply buried, stout, densely villous, hairs simple, jointed, divergent, 1–2 mm, sometimes also with shorter glandular hairs. Stems erect to decumbent, branching at most nodes, branches spreading and decumbent, 1.5–10 dm. Leaves petiolate; petiole 1/32/3 blade; blade broadly ovate to suborbiculate, (2–)4–11(–13) × 3–9(–10) cm, base truncate to slightly cordate, margins deeply and irregularly dentate to ± entire. Pedicels 9–15(–20) mm, 20–30 mm in fruit. Flowers: calyx 6–12 mm, lobes 3–6 mm; corolla yellow with 5 large purple-brown smudges, campanulate-rotate, 10–17 mm; anthers yellow, rarely blue-tinged, not twisted after dehiscence, 2.5–4.5 mm. Fruiting calyces loosely enclosing berry, 10-ribbed, 25–40 × 15–30 mm. 2n = 24.

Flowering May–Sep. Openings in hardwood forests, edges of pine woods, grasslands, fields, roadsides, dis­turbed sites; 10–400 m; Ont., Que., Sask.; Ala., Ark., Colo., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.

Physalis heterophylla is widespread east of the Rocky Mountains. Herbarium specimens from Manitoba, ­Oregon, and Utah represent historical collections. Mor­phological variation has been recognized taxonomi­cally in some manuals, although intergradation occurs among varieties and they often cannot be identified reliably. The cultivated P. peruviana (cape gooseberry) is similar to P. heterophylla except that it is not glandular and has shorter pedicels (6–8 mm in flower, 13–15 mm in fruit). W. F. Hinton (1975b) reported the uncommon occurrence of a population in North Carolina representing natural hybridization between P. heterophylla and P. virginiana.


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