Physalis heterophylla Nees

Physalis heterophylla plant

Family - Solanaceae

Stems - Erect, from tough horizontal rhizomes, to 50cm tall, herbaceous, terete, densely glandular pubescent, branching, often purplish at the nodes. Hairs of the stem often branching and of different lengths.

Physalis heterophylla stem

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate. Petioles to +1.5cm long, pubescent as the stem. Blades ovate, typically cordate with a few coarse, irregular teeth on margins, acute, to +6cm long, -5cm broad, sericeous above, less so below, glandular pubescent on both surfaces.

Physalis heterophylla leavesPressed leaves.

Inflorescence - Single flowers from the leaf axils. Flowers nodding. Pedicels to -1cm in flower, longer in fruit, densely glandular pubescent.

Flowers - Corolla yellow externally, purplish at base internally, funnelform, glandular pubescent externally, glabrous internally except at very base, to +/-1.5cm broad. Stamens 5, adnate at base of corolla tube, included, surrounded by tufts of white hairs (the hairs branching). Filaments purple, clavate, glabrous at apex, 3-4mm long. Anthers yellow to purple, 3-4mm long. Ovary superior, yellow, 1.5mm long, 2mm in diameter, glabrous, subtended by a green nectary, 2-locular, placentation axile. Seeds (ovules) many. Calyx campanulate, densely glandular pubescent externally with hairs if different lengths, glabrous internally, 5-lobed. Tube to 5mm long. Lobes 5mm long, triangular-attenuate. Calyx inflated in fruit to +3cm long, 2.5cm in diameter. Fruit viscid, glabrous, globose, 1cm in diameter.

Physalis heterophylla flowerCorolla close-up.

Physalis heterophylla calyxCalyx in flower.

Physalis heterophylla fruitCalyx in fruit.

Flowering - May - August.

Habitat - Prairies, rocky woods, waste ground, thickets, gravel bars.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - P. heterophylla can be found throughout Missouri and is fairly easy to ID in the field due to its glandular pubescent stems, coarsely toothed leaves, thick roots, and bi-colored flowers. The fruit of this species is edible when ripe but the plant itself is toxic.
The darker portions of the corolla are typically darker than in the close-up picture shown above.

Photographs taken at the Current River Conservation Area, Reynolds County, MO., 7-15-01, and in Ellington, MO., 6-5-03.


Back