Physalis longifolia (Long-leaf Ground Cherry)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun;|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||12 to 40 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Nodding stalked flowers arising singly from leaf axils along branching stems. Flowers are ½ to ¾ inch across, bell-shaped with 5 shallow lobes, pale yellow with darker yellowish to greenish to purple-brown spots on the inside at the base of the throat, sparsely hairy on the outer surface. Inside are 5 stamens with creamy yellow or purplish tips (anthers).
The calyx has 5 pointed lobes, is 10-veined with minute appressed hairs mostly just along the veins and along the edge. Flower stalks are up to ¾ inch long and also minutely appressed-hairy.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate, medium to dark green, lance-elliptic, blunt at the tip, 1 to 5 inches long, up to 3 inches wide, toothless to irregularly toothed around the edges, on a stalk up to 1½ inches long. Surfaces are mostly hairless but may have scattered, minute, appressed hairs especially along major veins.
Stems are erect, many branched, angled, green to purplish, mostly hairless except for scattered, minute hairs along the angles. Plants can form colonies from spreading rhizomes.
Fruit is a green berry that turns yellow when ripe. The persistent calyx inflates and becomes a papery shell shaped like an inverted tear drop that swells up and dries to tan as the fruit matures.
Long-leaf Ground Cherry is native to much of the US but is not recognized as native to Minnesota by the DNR. It's never been officially recorded here, but that does not mean it doesn't exist. Perhaps just overlooked. We encountered a small population just outside McKnight Prairie in Goodhue County in 2010 but it didn't register as a new (to us) species at the time. Looking back at old images from 2002, we discovered it was also somewhere in Winona County, probably just north of Winona. Then we were recently contacted about a population on private property in Hennepin County, which had been there for several years and starting to expand into a sizable colony. Is it actually native here? The national map indicates it may be but that is for others to decide. In all the above cases it was in disturbed soils—roadsides, old fields, and a restoration—and probably not planted or escaped from cultivation. Possibly transported by birds or vehicles from a native population.
The flowers are much the same as the other yellow-flowered Ground Cherries in Minnesota, but Long-leaf Ground Cherry is distinguished by its robust growth (to 3+ feet tall and colony-forming), essentially hairless leaves and stems, and the calyx with hairs mostly just along the veins. Both Clammy Ground Cherry (Physalis heterophylla) and Virginia Ground Cherry (P. virginiana) are smaller plants (often about 1 foot tall) and hairier all over, with more spreading hairs. There are 2 recognized varieties of P. longifolia, both of which may be in Minnesota. Documentation on the vars is poor, but best guess is: var. longifolia has a mostly western distribution, less toothly leaves and yellow anthers on flowers; var. subglabrata (a.k.a. P. subglabrata) has a mostly eastern distribution, more toothly leaves and purplish anthers. Minnesota is at the northern edge of where their ranges overlap.
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- Long-leaf Ground Cherry plant
- Long-leaf Ground Cherry plant
- a colony of Long-leaf Ground Cherry
- inside the flowers
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Goodhue County and a private residence in Hennepin County. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Goodhue and Winona counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?
on: 2018-08-24 12:05:52
I have debated for several years on whether this species is here in my area in Goodhue Co. Looking at my voucher photos, the presence of the recurved hairs along the stems and fruits sure keep me thinking this is what I have found. Peter, if you come down for that Rorripa collection, perhaps we may have to investigate this.
on: 2019-08-29 10:05:47
Lac qui Parle County. Saw this on a friends property just outside of Madison on 8/20/19. Wasn't sure of the name so took a couple pictures and ask the web.
on: 2020-05-08 10:45:00
Last summer, i discovered this plant growing in one of our garden areas. It is back this year and had indeed spread (in an underground line) into four separate plants. Looking forward to the lovely yellow flowers!
on: 2020-07-19 09:23:21
We have started seeing this in the ditch and along the edges of our small CRP acreage.
on: 2020-08-17 16:52:04
I noticed these along the bicycle path between Black Dog Lake and the river in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
on: 2020-08-23 21:50:47
I have a picture that I can send / email.
on: 2020-09-04 10:41:34
I found one of these plants next to my fence in the alley. Only one plant and never seen one before! Very poor soil and light conditions
on: 2021-07-19 10:30:44
I have one of these growing by my house! It first came up in 2019, and now has a solid footing without any additional care on my part. I did not plant it intentionally, it just showed up.
on: 2021-07-20 09:31:20
I live in the Highland Park area, across the river from Fort Snelling. Along Shepherd Road (cross street Gannon) there's one spot that has a patch of ground cherries. I just got an app call Picture This that identifies two species there - long leaf ground cherries and cut leaf ground cherries - not sure that's accurate. The plants aren't flowering yet so can't check certain features. I see the papery pods in the winter and spring but until now have been unable to separate these from the other wild plants they cohabitate with - to see what foliage belongs to the ground cherries.
on: 2022-07-21 11:14:01
A few of these plants just showed up in my yard. I am very surprised considering they aren't supposed to be here. I also have a lot of the usual Ground Cherry which look a lot different.
on: 2022-07-22 08:46:54
Pat, like many other species, this Physalis is very likely under-reported in Minnesota.
on: 2022-09-19 16:32:52
This was growing on the banks of Sand Creek at Louisville Swamp.
on: 2022-09-22 20:59:34
This plant is growing wild all along the roadside ditch on Township 140, Kasota...also known as 470th Street.