One of the most widely distributed ‘weeds’ of worn out soil this species was widely used at one time as a ‘garden huckleberry’ in the prairie purposely kept alive at the edges of corn fields.
Yellow groundcherry is a deep tap rooted perennial and produces a husk tomato with sweet yellow fruit. Usually the fruit is processed into jam, jelly, and pies or mixed in with other wild berries. The fruit stays in good condition in its husk up to two months making it easy to store at room temperature. It’s recommended to eat the fruit when it’s pure bright yellow. It is poisonous if green.
This type produces the husks in fall which need to ripen on the plant over a long period. Each plant produces 2-4 stalks some of which can fall over when laden with fruit. Fruits in 2 years from planting. The flavor is quite good even better than Aunt Molly's annual husk tomato. However, the yields are low as the plant produces small fruit half the size of Aunt Mollys. Some years it does not ripen 'right' either and then it cannot be eaten. I am not sure why. More can be done to improve this fruit for sure, but the flowers are very cool and it is distinctive enough to be called an ornamental. Produces rhizome type roots that go deep. A lot of health benefits are found in the fruit apparently and you see many Ayurvedic formulas with this fruit in it.
|Genus & Species||Physalis longifolia subglabrata|
|Seed Source||MI, CT|
|Pollination Requirements||Likely self fertile.|
|Soil||Grows anywhere including gravel.|
|Ease of Cultivation||Very durable. Yields high but not like the annual versions which are much more developed in terms of seed to fruit ratio. Flavor is quite good but the fruit is a tad seedy. Ripens unevenly here but when ripe the flavor is very good. Use a stake or trellis up a shrub. It will grow anywhere but best in full sun.|