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Common Names; Goldenberry, Peruvian groundcherry,
The plant and its fruit is known as Uchuva (Colombia), Cape gooseberry (South Africa, UK, New Zealand), Inca berry, Aztec berry, Golden berry, Giant ground cherry, African ground cherry, Peruvian groundcherry, Peruvian cherry, Amour en cage (France, French for “love in a cage”), and sometimes simply Physalis
Habitat ; Physalis peruviana is native to S. America – Peru. Naturalized in C. and S. Europe. It grows in the coastal regions and disturbed areas from sea level to 4500 metres.
Physalis peruviana is a perennial plant, growing to 1.2 m (4ft).It is frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to October, and the seeds ripen from Aug to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, wind.
Physalis peruviana is closely related to the tomatillo and to the Chinese lantern, also members of the genus Physalis. As a member of the plant family Solanaceae, it is more distantly related to a large number of edible plants, including tomato, eggplant, potato and other members of the nightshades. Despite its name, it is not closely related to any of the cherry, Ribes gooseberry, Indian gooseberry, or Chinese gooseberry.
The fruit is a smooth berry, resembling a miniature, spherical, yellow tomato. Removed from its bladder-like calyx, it is about the size of a marble, about 1–2 cm in diameter. Like a tomato, it contains numerous small seeds. It is bright yellow to orange in color, and it is sweet when ripe, with a characteristic, mildly tart flavor, making it ideal for snacks, pies, or jams. It is relished in salads and fruit salads, sometimes combined with avocado. Also, because of the fruit’s decorative appearance, it is popular in restaurants as an exotic garnish for desserts.
A prominent feature is the inflated, papery calyx enclosing each berry. The calyx is accrescent until the fruit is fully grown; at first it is of normal size, but after the petals fall it continues to grow until it forms a protective cover around the growing fruit. If the fruit is left inside the intact calyx husks, its shelf life at room temperature is about 30–45 days.
Succeeds in a sheltered position in any well-drained soil in full sun or light shade. Prefers a rich loam but tolerates poor soils. If the soil is too rich it encourages leaf production at the expense of fruiting. Plants tolerate a pH in the range 4.5 to 8.2. The Cape Gooseberry is an evergreen shrub in its native environment. It is not very cold-hardy in Britain, however, though it can succeed outdoors as a herbaceous perennial in the mildest areas of the country or when grown in favoured positions such as the foot of a sunny wall. Some cultivars will tolerate temperatures down to about -10° when grown in this way. It would be wise to apply a good protective mulch to the roots in late autumn after the top growth has been cut back by frosts. In most areas of Britain, however, it needs to be grown as an annual in much the same way as tomatoes. The plant is usually naturally bushy, but it can be useful to pinch out the growing tip whilst the shoots are less than 30cm tall in order to encourage side shoots. This species is often cultivated for its edible fruit in warm temperate and tropical zones, there are some named varieties. ‘Edulis’ is the most common cultivar in Britain, it has considerably larger fruits than the species but these do not have quite such a good flavour. Yields of 20 tonnes per hectare are common in S. America, 33 tonnes has been achieved.
Seed – sow March/April in a greenhouse only just covering the seed. Germination usually takes place quickly and freely. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of fairly rich soil when they are large enough to handle and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Consider giving them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away well. Diurnal temperature fluctuations assist germination. Division in spring. This is best done without digging up the plant. Remove young shoots that are growing out from the side of the clump, making sure that some of the below ground shoot is also removed. It is best if this has some roots on, but the shoot should form new roots fairly quickly if it is potted up and kept for a few weeks in a shady but humid part of the greenhouse
Edible Parts: Fruit……...CLICK & SEE
Fruit – raw or cooked in pies, cakes, jellies, compotes, jams etc. A delicious bitter-sweet flavour, it has smaller but sweeter fruits than the cultivar ‘Edulis’. The dried fruit can be used as a raisin substitute, though it is not so sweet. The plant conveniently wraps up each fruit in its own ‘paper bag’ (botanically, the calyx) to protect it from pests and the elements. This calyx is toxic and should not be eaten. The fruit is rich in vitamin A (3000 I.U. of carotene per 100g), vitamin C and some of the B complex (thiamine, niacin and B12). The protein and phosphorus levels are exceptionally high for a fruit. The fruit is a berry about 2cm in diameter. The dried fruit is said to be a substitute for yeast. If picked carefully with the calyx intact, the fruit can be stored for 3 months or more. The fruit is about 2cm in diameter.
The leaf juice has been used in the treatment of worms and bowel complaints. The plant is diuretic. In Colombia, the leaf decoction is taken as a diuretic and antiasthmatic. In South Africa, the heated leaves are applied as poultices on inflammations and the Zulus administer the leaf infusion as an enema to relieve abdominal ailments in children.
Known Hazards : All parts of the plant, except the fruit, are poisonous
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.