Clammy ground-cherry, Physalis heterophylla

Life Cycle

Perennial

Propagation

Reproducing by seed and by deeply penetrating and widely spreading roots.

Stems

Stems erect, 20-90cm high, branched in the upper part, often apparently branching in 3's (2 branches and 1 leaf petiole) with a flower in the centre.

Leaves

Leaves alternate (1 per node), long-stalked, ovate to somewhat rounded or diamond shaped in outline, margins smooth or with shallowly and irregularly rounded teeth; stems and leaves covered with sticky hairs.

Flowers and Fruit

Flowers borne singly in the angles where 2 or 3 stems and leaves come together, drooping on short stalks; calyx at first tubular with 5 short blunt lobes; petals united forming a trumpet-shaped corolla, mostly yellow with a dark purple centre; after blossoming, the calyx expands and becomes bladder-like enclosing a small, sperical, green berry which turns yellowish when ripe; the berry resembles a small tomato and contains many small seeds. Flowers from June to September.

Habitat

Clammy ground-cherry occurs in southern Ontario under dry open woodland, in pastures, cultivated fields waste areas and roadsides, especially in well-drained coarse soils.

Distinguishing Features

It is distinguished by its very deep perennial root, the clammy texture of its sticky stem and leaves, its yellow and purplish flowers produced in the angles between usually 3 or more stems and leaves, and its bladder-like inflated calyx containing a small greenish or yellowish berry.


Figure #1.

Clammy ground-cherry. (a) flowers are singly in the angles where 2 or 3 stems and leaves come together; (b) dropping on short stalks; calyx at first tubular with 5 short blunt lobes; petals united forming a trumpet-shaped corolla, mostly yellow with a dark purple centre.


Figure #10.


Figure #11.

White, fuzzy stem of clammy ground cherry


Figure #12.

White root of clammy ground cherry.


Figure #2.

Clammy ground-cherry in field, July in Central Ontario.


Figure #3.

Young clammy ground-cherry plant.


Figure #4.

Green, bladder-like pouch with hairs. After blossoming, the calyx expands and becomes this bladder, which encloses a small, sperical, green berry that turns yellowish when ripe; the berry resembles a small tomato and contains many small seeds.


Figure #5.

Fuzzy stem and calyx of clammy ground-cherry.


Figure #6.


Figure #7.

Yellow flower of clammy ground cherry, with 5 short blunt lobes.


Figure #8.

Yellow flower with dark purple veins and centre.


Figure #9.

Round to diamond shaped leaf of clammy ground cherry.