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Useful Tropical Plants

Physalis philadelphica

Lam.

Solanaceae


Closely related to Physalis ixocarpa, this is probably the wild species that Physalis ixocarpa was derived from in cultivation[
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.
].

+ Synonyms

Common Name: Wild Tomatillo

Physalis philadelphica
Flowering and fruiting branch
Photograph by: Malte
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
Physalis philadelphica Physalis philadelphica Physalis philadelphica Physalis philadelphica

General Information

Wild tomatillo is an annual plant growing around 60cm tall.
The edible fruit is gathered from the wild, whilst the plant is sometimes also cultivated[
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.
].

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

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

C. America - El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico.

Habitat

Not known in a truly wild situation, it is found as a weed of cultivation.

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *
HabitAnnual
Height0.60 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations up to 2,600 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 25°c, but can tolerate 8 - 31°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It is not tolerant of frost[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 700 - 1,000mm, but tolerates 600 - 1,100mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
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 pH in the range 6 - 7, tolerating 5 - 8[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].

The plant is a common weed of cultivation.
There are some named varieties[
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.
,
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.
]. 'Purple de Milpa' has small purple-tinged fruits with a sharp flavour, they keep well[
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

Fruit - raw or cooked[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
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.
,
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.
]. 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 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 subglobose fruit can be 6cm in diameter[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. The fruit can be stored for up to a year if picked before they are fully ripe and left inside their calyx.

Medicinal

The juice from the berries has been used as an eyewash[
257
Title
Native American Ethnobotany
Publication
 
Author
Moerman. D.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-88192-453-9
Description
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
].

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. 2019-10-16. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Physalis+philadelphica>

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