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Genus Physalis Family Solanaceae

Description: Summer-growing annuals, rhizomatous perennials or short-lived shrubs, glabrous or hairy with simple, forked or glandular hairs.

Leaves alternate, 1 or 2 per node (but not opposite), simple, margins entire, toothed or lobed; petiolate.

Flowers solitary in leaf-axils and branch forks, bisexual, actinomorphic. Calyx tubular to campanulate, 5-lobed. Corolla broad-campanulate to rotate, mostly yellow, often with dark spots towards the base; tube short; limb expanded, shallowly 5-lobed. Stamens 5 equal, inserted towards base of corolla tube; anthers 2-locular, basifixed, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary 2-locular.

Fruit ± globose berry enclosed by inflated calyx.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 100 species, chiefly North & South America, some in Asia. Australia: 8 species (1 species probably native, 7 species naturalized), all States.

Text by B. J. Conn
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Herbaceous perennials with rhizomatous rootstock; indumentum of simple or forked non-glandular hairs, or glabrescent2
Annuals or short-lived perennials; indumentum sparse to dense, of glandular or simple (never forked) non-glandular hairs, or glabrous3
2Indumentum including some minute forked hairs; leaves narrow-ovate, margins usually sinuate or toothedPhysalis hederifolia
Indumentum of simple hairs only; leaves elliptic, margins entire or with a few indistinct lobes
                       Back to 1
Physalis longifolia
3Plants obviously pubescent, hirsute or pilose with erect, glandular or simple non-glandular hairs; corolla conspicuously spotted4
Plants sparsely hairy with erect or appressed, simple, non-glandular hairs, or becoming glabrescent; corolla marked with inconspicuous blotches
                       Back to 1
4Annual; fruiting calyx 17–22 mm long; corolla 6–8 mm long; hairs ± stickyPhysalis pubescens
Short-lived shrub; fruiting calyx 30–40 mm long; corolla 10–15 mm long; hairs not sticky
                       Back to 3
Physalis peruviana
5Anthers 3–4 mm long, becoming twisted; flowers bright yellow; berries mostly 17–30 mm diamPhysalis philadelphica
Anthers 2–2.5 mm long, straight; flowers dull yellow; berries usually 8–15 mm diam
                       Back to 3
6Leaves narrow-elliptic; pedicels usually 20–30 mm longPhysalis lanceifolia
Leaves narrow-ovate; pedicels usually 5–25 mm long
                       Back to 5
7Pedicel 5–10 mm long; style 2–2.5 mm long; fruiting calyx circular in sectionPhysalis ixocarpa
Pedicel usually 20–25 mm long; style 4–5 mm long; fruiting calyx angular in section
                       Back to 6
Physalis angulata

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