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PlantFiles: Cape Gooseberry, Peruvian Ground Cherry, Poha Berry, Goldenberry
Physalis peruviana

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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)

Synonym:Physalis edulis

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

21 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Category:
Annuals
Perennials

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

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

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow
Purple

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer

Foliage:
Velvet/Fuzzy-Textured

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
By air layering

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

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By Baa
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There are a total of 10 photos.
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Profile:

5 positives
5 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Neutral Greenjayjay On Aug 17, 2010, Greenjayjay from Williamsport
United States wrote:

Could someone send me a pot plant. I dont have anything to trade could anyone tell me if they grow into bushes? I really want this plant it sound soo interesting.

Neutral puni2tonyg On Jun 8, 2010, puni2tonyg from Ocean View, HI wrote:

I have no experience growing the Poha berrie. In fact, I thought it was a weed and was going to whack it. A friend showed me a plant and I told her it was growing wild at my place. I would like to know the particulars of harvesting this fruit. She said when the husk is tan/brown the fruit is ripe but, when I peel the husk back the berry is still green. Can you enlighten me? Thank you and Aloha

Positive honolulurose On Dec 28, 2009, honolulurose from Honolulu, HI wrote:

Zone 8/9. Grows well in container requiring virtually no fertilizer at a 1000 feet above sea level, 3 to 5 degrees F cooler than sea level. Is everbearing in our climate.

The soil mix I use is Tapla's Gritty mix from Gardenweb; it is a perfect mix for this plant (not for all plants). I have no root rot. It does however need watering every second day, and every day in the summer with about 2 gallons.

Only bad thing about the plant is it is a Mealy bug magnet; however the good thing is the Meal bugs rarely go anywhere else so they are easy to control.

Not the prettiest plant in the world but can handle strong winds and the fruit is wonderful. Recommend you shake it and the fruit that falls will be close to ripeness, rather than pick as it is difficult to judge when it is ready. In some areas birds are attracted to the fruits so you may have to net it when it gets close to ripeness.

Positive fgajardo On May 30, 2005, fgajardo from Linares
Chile wrote:

I'm a commercial grower of Physalis peruviana (Goldenberry) in Chile, zone 10a. The optimal soil pH range is between 5 and 6, and resists up to 5 hours (cumulated) at 2.5C or less.

Neutral richiesnana On May 13, 2004, richiesnana from San Jose, CA wrote:

I was first introduced to this fruit while living in Europe. They were served one or two on a plate as a garnish to the main entree. They were served with the husks on, but pulled back to reveal the fruit which was probably 1/2 inch in diameter and apricot colored.

I planted some seeds last spring in San Jose, CA, which is zone 9. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. We had a mild winter and the plants wintered over. They grow to more than six feet tall and require support but still sprawl. It seems to be everbearing. I have them near a south facing wall in a sheltered area. They get some afternoon shade. No special care, but good soil. They are not completely ripe when they drop from the plant. So far I have not been able to get them to the point of ripeness with which they were served in Europe. I guess I need to hold them a bit longer. They're still tasty when not quite ripe, but much better if they're all the way to the orange stage.

Positive foodiesleuth On Apr 23, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

In Hawaii we call this Poha (ph-ha). They were brought to the islands back in the mid 1800's by the New England missionaries. It has acclimated to several areas of the island, both higher altitudes and almost sea level.
A friend gave us a potted one for Christmas and it just took off with nice long branches and lots of "little lanterns" ....We just transplanted it to the yard and are hoping it makes it.....
Besides jam I like to make crostata (open faced tarts with the edges rolled over the fruit filling) Wonderful!

UPDATE: May 2005
Our plant did quite well the first year, even producing edible fruit and grew quite large - to about 5 feet in diameter - but I guess our rainforest type location was too much for it to stand......even though it was planted in semi-sandy soil, it started rotting after the first year. I want to try growing it again, at least one more time.

Neutral Thaumaturgist On Sep 7, 2003, Thaumaturgist from Rockledge, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Coming from the high altitudes of Peru, it feels right at home at almost sea level in Florida. It has escaped any and all attempts to control it and that is how it has shown up almost everywhere, including England.

It is no wonder that it is also known as an "Escape Artist."

A related plant, Physalis alkekengi or Chinese Lantern plant is an invasive pest here in Florida. Once it shows up in your yard, you will be pulling them out for long long time; it's also called "Florida Ground Cherry."

Positive Monocromatico On Sep 7, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

The fruits taste really good. Too bad they arent cultivated around here - they are very expensive.

Positive kennedyh On Sep 7, 2003, kennedyh from Churchill, Victoria
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:

The fruit makes a delicious jam.

Neutral Baa On Sep 11, 2001, Baa wrote:

Perennial from brazil although is an annual in temperate regions. Has heart-shaped, velvety, sage green leaves up to 6 inches long. Bears star shaped, slightly bell like, yellow flowers with a purple blotch right at the centre with a large calyx behind. Fruit forms in the calyx and can take 70-80 days to mature.

The ripe fruit is a waxy, orange ball, encased in a straw coloured calyx. Fruit will fall from the plant and continue to ripen. Unripe fruit can be poisonous. Each fruit bears numerous seeds. The flowers are self pollinating but benefit from a light shaking or water spray.

The fruits ripen in September here and have a very mild taste. They sweeten with age and have a slight pineapple x strawberry taste.


Culture is very similar to tomatoes.

Easy to grow here in Southern England where is has been a perennial in my garden for 3 years. However the garden is very, very sheltered and it grows only at the southern most part where it has exposure to sun all day.

Likes a poor sandy soil although isn't fussy as long as the spot is very well drained. Needs a lot of water but hates being on wet ground.

Higher yields are produced where no fertilizer is added. If the soil is too rich it will put on a lot of leafy growth and very little fruit.

Protect from frosts, in colder areas it may need to be grown in a greenhouse.

Regional...

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

Carlsbad, California
Ceres, California
La Mirada, California
Saint Helena, California
San Jose, California (2 reports)
Orlando, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Guyton, Georgia
Hawaiian Ocean View, Hawaii
Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii
Honomu, Hawaii
Papaaloa, Hawaii
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Liberty Hill, Texas
Ogden, Utah



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