Smooth groundcherry

August 21, 2015

Physalis longifolia Nutt. var. subglabrata (Mackenzie & Bush) Cronq.

Life cycle

Erect, branching, rhizomatous perennial. 

smooth groundcherry seedling
Young smooth groundcherry plant.


Alternate, egg-, lance- to diamond-shaped with entire to toothed margins and long petioles. Leaves are smooth to slightly hairy.

smooth groundcherry leaf
Smooth groundcherry leaf.


Erect, branching, angled, up to 3-foot-tall herbaceous stems that become smooth and semi-woody with age.

smooth groundcherry plant
Smooth groundcherry plant.

Flowers and fruit

Flowers have five yellow to greenish yellow petals with purple centers, fused into a bell shape and found drooping and solitary in branch and leaf axils. Fruit are orange, red or purple, globe-shaped berries surrounded by a green, lantern-shaped, papery bladder. Each fruit contains many flat, circular to kidney-shaped seeds.

smooth groundcherry flower
Smooth groundcherry flower.


Seeds and rhizomes.

Similar weeds

Apple of Peru [Nicandra physalodes (L.) Gaertn.] Differs by having an aggressive, annual habit, being up to 4 feet tall and having blue, upward facing, bell-shaped flowers.

Apple of Peru fruit Apple of Peru flower
Apple of Peru fruit and flower.

Apple of Peru foliage
Apple of Peru foliage, flowers, and fruit. 

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