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PlantFiles: Ground Cherry
Physalis peruviana 'Aunt Molly'

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Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Physalis (fy-SAL-is) (Info)
Species: peruviana (per-u-vee-AN-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Aunt Molly

7 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Annuals
Vegetables

Height:
12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Spacing:
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Hardiness:
Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:
Velvet/Fuzzy-Textured

Other details:
Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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to view:

By turtleheart
Thumbnail #1 of Physalis peruviana by turtleheart

Profile:

1 positive
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive JeremiahT On May 10, 2012, JeremiahT from Brodhead, KY wrote:

This is a hardy, highly productive plant with small, golden fruits enclosed in papery calyxes. Flavor of ripe fruit is unusual, difficult to describe---though it is very sweet, with notes of pineapple and tomato.

I grew six plants last year---started indoors 6-7 weeks before the last frost date, in the manner of tomatoes---and had an abundance of fruit for fresh snacking and cooking. The plants received no special treatment---just a good mulching with rotted leaves, a bit of watering during dry spells, and a couple of foliar feedings with a fish emulsion/kelp extract solution. No disease or insect problems, though a couple of plants did split at the main stem---apparently a result of rapid growth, high water content and sprawling habit. Bound up splits with twine and staked plants as best I could---no easy task because of their sprawling growth habit---, and they were none the worse for the damage. Indeed, as hardy as ground cherries are, I suspect the damaged plants would've been fine if left alone.

There are apparently only a handful of cultivars, Cossack Pineapple and Goldie being the only others of which I've heard. Aunt Molly is the only cultivar with which I have had first-hand experience, though the impression I've gained from reading (and in which I may be entirely mistaken) is that there are few appreciable differences among them.

In any case, those gardeners who haven't tried ground cherries ought to give them a go. They're a snap to grow and, to many palates, delicious. I was certainly impressed, and am increasing this year's planting by two.

NOTE: There seems to be some taxonomic confusion regarding ground cherries and their relatives. The USDA apparently labels Cossack Pineapple, a cultivar regarded as P. pruinosa/pubescens on PlantFiles and elsewhere, as P. peruviana, and this particular PlantFiles entry also categorizes "Aunt Molly" as a cultivar of P. peruviana. Other sources, however, indicate that P. peruviana is a related but separate species called Cape Gooseberry. In fact, there exists a *second* entry for Aunt Molly ground cherry on PlantFiles which files it under P. pruinosa/pubescens. ( http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/51542 ) Perhaps some knowledgeable member can shed light on this matter. Is one of these entries incorrect---or is P. peruviana in fact another synonym for P. pruinosa/pubescens?

Neutral Farmerdill On Sep 2, 2005, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Small, golden fruits with papery husks (like tomatillos) and a sweet-tart, slightly citrus flavor, ripen a golden-orange and store up to 3 months in their husks. Great in hot desserts, even over ice cream. Harvest the ripe ones straight off the ground and graze in the garden. Originally from Poland." (70 day)

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Brodhead, Kentucky



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