Cape Gooseberry, Peruvian Ground Cherry, Poha Berry, Goldenberry

Physalis peruviana

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
View this plant in a garden




Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Medium Purple

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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


Carlsbad, California

Ceres, California

La Mirada, California

Palm Desert, California

Saint Helena, California

San Jose, California (2 reports)

Stockton, California

Daytona Beach, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Guyton, Georgia

Snellville, Georgia

Hawaiian Ocean View, Hawaii

Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii

Honomu, Hawaii

Papaaloa, Hawaii

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Liberty Hill, Texas

Ogden, Utah

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 13, 2018, gatobut from Palm Desert, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is a fast grower in the hot desert. It does seem to be incredibly attractive to most pests, though. The caterpillars devoured the entire plant. One week after being denuded, the leaves came back en masse...only to be attacked by beetles. A very happy plant that just keeps going and going and going. It also seems quite happy with 113 Fahrenheit temperatures.


On Oct 11, 2017, HalifaxNS from Halifax,
Canada wrote:

I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Having grown the smaller type of ground cherry (Pineapple Cossack) with success, I saved the seeds from purchased Cape Gooseberries (grown in Peru), and sowed it in early spring of 2017. To my utter delight, it germinated very easily, and the plant grew very well and healthy alongside my tomato seedlings.

I treated it just as I would a tomato plant, though I planted it in a large barrel, on June 10th (after the full moon). Compared to the Pineapple Cossack (PC), which only grows about 1 to 1.5 feet high and wide, the Peruvian grew tremendously large. As of today, October 11th, the plant is still going strong at 4 feet tall, and 6.5 feet wide (each side branch a little over 3 feet), and it is LOADED with ground cherry husks and flowers. It is ... read more


On Feb 11, 2016, malsprower from Daytona, FL wrote:

Extremely prolific in Florida, They are 5 feet high right now and won't stop growing! They seem to not mind the chilly weather, they do get attacked by the three lined potato beetle, the larvae love the fruits a lot. But the beetles suddenly vanished, here, maybe they will come back. They don't demand much water and no fert at all. The fruit are amazing tasting and these plants will consume your garden, give them plenty of room, they are huge!

It is now march and they are self seeding, looks like a ton of them have popped up all over my garden. I really love these plants!


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.


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


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 dif... read more


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.


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 ... read more


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 plante... read more


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."


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.


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

The fruit makes a delicious jam.


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 si... read more