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Useful Tropical Plants

Physalis ixocarpa

Brot.

Solanaceae


Some botanists unite this species with Physalis philadelphica[
50
Title
Flora Europaea
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1964
ISBN
-
Description
An immense work in 6 volumes (including the index). The standard reference flora for Europe, it is very terse though and with very little extra information. Not for the casual reader.
], saying that it arose from Physalis philadelphica through cultivation.

+ Synonyms

Common Name: Tomatillo

Physalis ixocarpa
Ripening fruit, bursting out of its calyx
Photograph by: National Museum of American History
Creative Commons License
Physalis ixocarpa Physalis ixocarpa Physalis ixocarpa

General Information

Tomatillo is an annual plant growing about 1.2 metres tall.
The plant is sometimes cultivated for its edible fruit.

Known Hazards

All parts of the plant, except the fruit, are poisonous[
19
Title
Poisonous Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Stary. F.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1983
ISBN
0-600-35666-3
Description
Not very comprehensive, but easy reading.
,
65
Title
A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Frohne. D. and Pfänder. J.
Publisher
Wolfe
Year
1984
ISBN
0723408394
Description
Brilliant. Goes into technical details but in a very readable way. The best work on the subject that I've come across so far.
].

Botanical References

43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
,
170
Title
Ground Cherries, Husk Tomatoes and Tomatilloes.
Publication
 
Author
Dremann. C. G.
Publisher
Redwood City Seed Co
Year
1985
ISBN
0-933421-03-6
Description
Only a small booklet but it covers the various species in some depth.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Central America and north through N. America as far as southern Quebec.

Habitat

Waste places[
43
Title
Gray's Manual of Botany.Eighth Edition
Publication
 
Author
Fernald. M. L.
Publisher
American Book Co.; New York
Year
1950
ISBN
0442222505
Description
A bit dated but a good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
HabitAnnual
Height1.20 m
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details


Succeeds in any well-drained soil in full sun or light shade[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prefers a rich light soil[
33
Title
Rare Vegetables for Garden and Table.
Publication
 
Author
Organ. J.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1960
ISBN
-
Description
Unusual vegetables that can be grown outdoors in Britain. A good guide.
,
38
Title
Simmons' Manual of Fruit.
Publication
 
Author
Simmons A. E.
Publisher
David & Charles; Newton Abbot.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-7153-7607-1
Description
A good guide to some of the cultivars of temperate fruits. It covers quite a wide range of fruits.
]. Tolerates hot dry weather[
160
Title
Wonder Crops. 1987.
Publication
 
Author
Natural Food Institute,
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fascinating reading, this is an annual publication. Some reports do seem somewhat exaggerated though.
].
A slow growing plant[
160
Title
Wonder Crops. 1987.
Publication
 
Author
Natural Food Institute,
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fascinating reading, this is an annual publication. Some reports do seem somewhat exaggerated though.
]. Insect resistant[
160
Title
Wonder Crops. 1987.
Publication
 
Author
Natural Food Institute,
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fascinating reading, this is an annual publication. Some reports do seem somewhat exaggerated though.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[
3
Title
Growing Unusual Fruit.
Publication
 
Author
Simmons. A. E.
Publisher
David & Charles; Newton Abbot.
Year
1972
ISBN
0-7153-5531-7
Description
A very readable book with information on about 100 species that can be grown in Britain (some in greenhouses) and details on how to grow and use them.
,
38
Title
Simmons' Manual of Fruit.
Publication
 
Author
Simmons A. E.
Publisher
David & Charles; Newton Abbot.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-7153-7607-1
Description
A good guide to some of the cultivars of temperate fruits. It covers quite a wide range of fruits.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
]. The fruit is a berry that is 2.5cm or more in diameter[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. When not fully ripe, the fruit can be cooked and used in curries, sauces, soups, stews etc[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. A delicious flavouring when used like a tomato and added to soups, stews etc[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The fully ripe fruit is sweeter and can be eaten out of hand, added to salads or used in pies, preserves etc[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. 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 can be stored for up to a year if picked before they are fully ripe and left inside their calyx.

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - sow in situ. Germination is usually quick and free. Diurnal temperature fluctuations assist germination with daytime temperatures of 30°c falling to 21°c at night[
170
Title
Ground Cherries, Husk Tomatoes and Tomatilloes.
Publication
 
Author
Dremann. C. G.
Publisher
Redwood City Seed Co
Year
1985
ISBN
0-933421-03-6
Description
Only a small booklet but it covers the various species in some depth.
,
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

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