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Beginner Gardening: Ground Cherry vs. Tomatillo

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Forum: Beginner GardeningReplies: 3, Views: 63
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Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

January 11, 2011
1:22 PM

Post #8305010

A seed company included a bonus pack of seeds with my order - Ground Cherry "Aunt Molly's". I've never grown ground cherries before, and that sounds interesting.

Then I looked it up in PlantFiles and found that ground cherries look exactly like tomatillos. I guess the fruits are smaller and more fruity-tasting, 'cause they're talking about making jam out of them - but the plants and fruits sure look like tomatillos to me.

I grow tomatillos in my garden every year, and they're an ingredient in my salsa. I don't buy tomatillo seeds any more, as they self-seed and they're one of the most common spring "weeds" in my garden. I just transplant a few to where I want them and till thousands of others under.

Seems to me I might have a problem if I grow ground cherries and tomatillos in the same garden. I guess ground cherries self-seed like tomatillos, so after the first season I wouldn't be able to tell which "volunteers" were which. Even worse, the two species seem so similar I'm afraid they might cross, and I don't need what's described as a strawberry-like ground cherry fruit flavor in my garden salsa. What do you think?
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)

January 11, 2011
1:44 PM

Post #8305078

Different species they don't cross. Usually tomatillos are a large plant. Ground cherries short bushy plant ( there are three species of ground cherry normaly considered in the vegetable class and they do vary in size)
Tomatillos are Physalis ixocarpa
Aunt Molly's version of the ground cherry is listed as Physalis pruinosa and is a very short plant ( less than 12 inches) tomatillos run 3-4 feet.
Douglasville, GA

January 12, 2011
7:37 AM

Post #8306379

I have grown Aunt Molly's ground cherry, and it was very "fruity". I really liked the taste, but friends and family either liked it or hated it. I did have a few volunteers, not many. Wish I had saved a few seeds, as it either did not re-seed or maybe I pulled them thinking they were weeds.
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 14, 2011
7:02 PM

Post #8311103

From what I have read Ground Cherries are considered poisonous. I got some free seeds too but it says to let the berries drop to the ground as unripe ones are poisonous.

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