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Useful Tropical Plants

Physalis minima

L.

Solanaceae


There has been considerable confusion between this species and Physalis lagascae Roem. & Schult. Some of the reports under this name may more properly apply to Physalis lagascae

+ Synonyms

Physalis angulata villosa Bonati.

Physalis micrantha Link.

Physalis parviflora R.Br.

Common Name: Sunberry

Physalis minima
Young plant
Photograph by: Mark Marathon
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Physalis minima Physalis minima Physalis minima Physalis minima

General Information

Sunberry is an erect, much-branched, annual plant growing around 50cm tall.
The edible fruit is sometimes gathered from the wild and used locally, The plant also has a range of medicinal uses.

Known Hazards

Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where many of the members have poisonous leaves and stems, though the fully ripe fruits are usually edible[
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

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.
,
265
Title
Flora of the Sydney Region
Publication
 
Author
Carolin. R. & Tindale. M.
Publisher
Reed. Australia.
Year
1993
ISBN
0730104001
Description
Concise flora with little beyond an extensive key, species descriptions, very brief habitat description.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

Probably originating in the American tropics, it is widespread throughout much of the world.

Habitat

Sandy river flats in Australia[
144
Title
Wild Food in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
Fontana
Year
1976
ISBN
0-00-634436-4
Description
A very good pocket guide.
]. Field edges, waste ground near houses, roadsides etc, in porous organic-rich soils in the Himalayas[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitAnnual
Height0.50 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusWild

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.
].

Edible Uses

Edible fruit - cooked[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
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.
,
144
Title
Wild Food in Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Cribb. A. B. and J. W.
Publisher
Fontana
Year
1976
ISBN
0-00-634436-4
Description
A very good pocket guide.
]. Tastes like a cherry tomato[
193
Title
Wild Food Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Low. T.
Publisher
Angus and Robertson.
Year
1989
ISBN
0-207-14383-8
Description
Well presented, clear information and good photographs. An interesting read for the casual reader as well as the enthusiast
]. Scarcely worthwhile[
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
]. Juicy, mildly astringent and sweet with a pleasant blend of acid, the overall quality is good[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
]. The unripe fruit can be cooked as a vegetable[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
]. The fruit is about 1.5cm in diameter[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
]. It contains about 6% sugars, 2.7% protein, 1.2% ash, 0.6% tannin and 0.5% pectin[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
]. A good quantity of vitamin C. about 24.5mg per 100ml of juice[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
]. The fruit is formed and ripens consecutively over a long period[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
]. Average yields from a plant covering 2.5 square metres are about 545g[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
]. 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.

Medicinal

All parts of the plant are used as a diuretic and antipyretic[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The fruit is said to be alterative, appetizer, bitter, diuretic, laxative and tonic[
194
Title
Wild Fruits of the Sub-Himalayan Region.
Publication
 
Author
Parmar. C. and Kaushal. M.K.
Publisher
Kalyani Publishers. New Delhi.
Year
1982
ISBN
-
Description
Contains lots of information on about 25 species of fruit-bearing plants of the Himalayas, not all of them suitable for cool temperate zones.
,
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
].

The pounded leaves are used as a remedy for headache and itches[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. The juice of the leaves, mixed with mustard oil and water, has been used as a remedy for earache[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
].

The root is febrifuge and vermifuge. An extract of the root is taken for fevers, whilst the root is chewed to act as a vermifuge[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. A decoction of the roots is drunk to treat hypertension and diabetes[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The roots are chewed and applied as a poultice to the lower abdomen in order to reduce pain[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Extracts from the plant have shown anticancer activity[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].

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.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-12-06. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Physalis+minima>

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