- Major entries:
- Physalis alkekengi Linn. Strawberry Tomato. Winter Cherry.
- Physalis angulata Linn. Ground Cherry.
- Physalis peruviana Linn. Alkekengi. Barbados Gooseberry. Cherry Tomato. Ground Cherry. Winter Cherry.
- Physalis pubescens Linn. Ground Cherry. Husk Tomato. Strawberry Tomato.
Europe and Japan. This species has long been grown for its red, smooth, round, berry-like fruits enclosed in bladder-like leaves. It was described by Dioscorides. In Arabia and even in Germany and Spain, the fruits, which have a slightly acid taste, are eaten for dessert. It was called strucknon halikakabon or phusalis by Dioscorides and is named by the modern Boeotians keravoulia.
Tropics. The fruit is sweetish and subacid and is commonly eaten with safety if perfectly ripe. The leaves are used as a vegetable in central Africa. This species is found widely dispersed over tropical regions, extending to the southern portion of the United States and to Japan. It is first described by Camararius, 1588, as a plant hitherto unknown and an excellent figure is given. It was seen in a garden by C. Bauhin before 1596 and is figured in the Hortus Eystettensis, 1613. J. Bauhin speaks of its presence in certain gardens in Europe. Linnaeus describes a variety with entire leaves, and both his species and variety are figured by Dillenius, who obtained the variety from Holland in 1732. When, it first appeared in our vegetable gardens is not recorded. Its synonymy seems to be as below:
Halicacabum sive Solanum Indicum. Cam. Hort. 70. 1588. cum. ic.
Solanum vesicarium Indicum. Bauh. Phytopin. 297. 1596; Pin. 166. 1623; Ray Hist. 681. 1686.
Halicacabum seu Solanum Indicum. Camer. Hortus. Eystet. 1613. cum. ic.
Solanum sive Halicabum Indicum. Bauh. J. 3:609. 1651. cum. ic.
Alkekengi Indicum majus. Toum. Inst. 151. 1719.
Pops. Hughes Barb. 161. 1750.
Physalis angulata Linn. Gray Syn. Fl. 2: pt. I, 234.
Physalis lanceolata Michx. Strawberry Tomato.
Western North America. This species was among the strawberry tomatoes grown at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in 1886 and occurred in two varieties; the ordinary sort and another with broader leaves and more robust growth. Its habitat is given by Gray as from Lake Winnipeg to Florida and Texas, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.
Physalis obscura Michx. Ground Cherry.
Eastern United States. It produces an edible ground cherry.
Tropics. This species is sometimes grown in gardens for its fruit. It is a hardy, annual plant, which bears a roundish fruit half an inch in diameter, yellow, semitransparent at maturity and enclosed in an inflated, membranaceous calyx. The fruit has a juicy pulp and, when first tasted, a pleasant, strawberry-like flavor, but the after taste is not so agreeable. This South American species seems to have become fairly well distributed through cultivation. Birdwood records it as cultivated widely in India and gives native names in the various dialects, and Speede mentions it also. In France, it is classed among garden vegetables by Vilmorin. Descourtilz gives a Carib name, sousourouscurou. Drummond, who introduced the plant into Australia, after ten years, reports it as completely naturalized in. his region. This species differs but slightly from P. pubescens. Gray, 1878, says it was introduced into cultivation several years ago but has now mainly disappeared.
Physalis philadelphica Lam. Purple Ground Cherry. Purple Strawberry Tomato. Purple Winter Cherry.
North America. The fruit is edible. Although the habitat of this species is given by Gray as in fertile soil, Pennsylvania to Illinois and Texas, yet it seems to be the miltomatl figured by Hemandez in his Mexican history, published in 1651. It is described by Burr under the names given above. The petite tomato du Mexique, as received from Vilmorin, in 1883, can be assigned to this species, as can also a strawberry tomato grown in 1885 at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station.
North America. This is the camaru. It is also found wild in the United States. The fruit is edible. This species has a wide range, extending from New York to Iowa, Florida and westward from Texas to the borders of California and southward to tropical America. It is described by Marcgrav and Piso in Brazil about the middle of the seventeenth century, and Feuille, 1725, mentions it as cultivated and wild in Peru. It has been introduced into many regions. Loureiro records it in Cochin China; Bojer, as cultivated in the Mauritius and in all the tropical countries; and it also occurs in the descriptions of garden vegetables in France and America. It was cultivated by Miller in England in 1739 and was described by Parkinson in 1640. It had not reached the kitchen garden in 1807 but had before 1863. Its synonymy seems as given below:
Camaru. Marcg. 12. 1648; Piso 223. 1658.
Halicacabum sive Alkekengi Virginense. Ray 681. 1686.
Alkekengi Virginianum, fructu luteo. Tourn. 151. 1719.
Alkekengi Virginianum, fructu luteo, vulgo Capuli. Feuille 3:5. 1725.
Alkekengi Barbadense nanum, Alliariae folio. Dill. Eith. 10. f. 9. t. 9. 1774.
Physalis pubescens. Linn. Sp. 262. 1762.
Physalis virginiana Mill. Strawberry Tomato.
North America. This species has also been grown from seedsmen's strawberry tomato. It is a low, spreading plant.
Physalis viscosa Linn.
Eastern United States. The berry is edible.
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.