Open the Advanced Search

Cape Gooseberry

Physalis peruviana

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Solanaceae (Nightshade)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
160 centimetres tall
Gardens, seaside, wasteland.

Yellow, 5 petals
Yellow, bell-shaped flowers, purple-spotted on the inside. Flowers measure 1.5 to 2cm across. The flowers are with pollinated by bees or the wind.
The fruit is a round, fleshy berry, like a small yellow tomato. Sometimes the fruits are red or purple. The seeds ripen from August to November.
A very downy plant with velvety, heart-shaped leaves (simple or pinnately lobed). The branches are spreading in nature. Perennial.
Other Names:
Golden Berry, Goldenberry, Gooseberry Tomato, Ground Cherry, Incan Berry, Peruvian Cape Gooseberry, Peruvian Groundcherry, Physalis, Poha, Purple Ground Cherry.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Physalis peruviana, commonly known as the Cape gooseberry, Peruvian groundcherry or goldenberry, is a perennial plant in the Solanaceae family. It is native to South America, and is known for its small, orange, tomato-like fruit that is enclosed in a papery husk. The plant can reach a height of up to 1.6 meters, with green leaves and small, yellow flowers that bloom in the summer.

The fruit of Physalis peruviana is high in vitamin C and other nutrients, and can be eaten fresh or used to make jams, jellies, and pies. The fruit has a unique sweet-tart flavor and is often used in desserts and salads. The plant is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is valued for its attractive flowers and fruit.

It can be easily grown in average, well-drained soil in full sun. It is sensitive to frost and does best in warm temperatures, therefore it is often grown as an annual in colder climates. P.peruviana is also known to be a host plant for the tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) and can attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs.


Cape gooseberry, also known as Physalis peruviana, is a small, round fruit that is native to South America. It is a member of the nightshade family and is closely related to tomatoes and tomatillos. The fruit is encased in a papery husk that resembles a Chinese lantern, which is where the name "Chinese lantern plant" comes from.

Cape gooseberries are typically harvested when they are bright orange and have fully ripened. The fruit is usually small, about the size of a cherry tomato, and is firm and slightly sweet. The flavor has been described as a combination of pineapple, strawberry, and tomato.

One of the most unique features of the Cape gooseberry is its papery husk. The husk is edible, but it is usually removed before eating the fruit. The husk can be used in a variety of ways, including as a decorative garnish, in jams and jellies, and even in tea.

Cape gooseberries are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and iron. They are also low in calories, with only around 53 calories per 100 grams of fruit. In addition to being nutritious, Cape gooseberries have been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including malaria, asthma, and rheumatism.

The Cape gooseberry is a versatile fruit that can be used in a variety of dishes. It can be eaten fresh, added to salads or salsas, or used to make desserts such as pies, tarts, and crumbles. It can also be used in savory dishes, such as stews and curries.

Growing Cape gooseberries is relatively easy, as they are hardy plants that can grow in a variety of soils and climates. They are typically grown as annuals, as they do not tolerate frost. Cape gooseberries can be grown from seed or from cuttings, and they typically mature in 70-80 days.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, the Cape gooseberry has some interesting cultural and historical significance. In South America, the fruit is often used in traditional celebrations and festivals. It is also featured in folklore and legends, where it is sometimes called the "golden berry" or the "Incan berry".

The plant was first cultivated by the ancient Incas, who valued it for its medicinal properties as well as its sweet and tangy flavor. It was later introduced to Europe by Spanish explorers in the 18th century, and it has since spread to other parts of the world.

Today, Cape gooseberries are grown in many countries, including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. They are also widely used in the food industry, where they are often used in jams, sauces, and other products.

Despite its many benefits, the Cape gooseberry is not without its drawbacks. The plant can be invasive in some areas, and it can also be toxic in large quantities. Additionally, some people may be allergic to the fruit or the plant.

However, the Cape gooseberry is a fascinating and delicious fruit that is well worth exploring. Whether you are interested in its culinary, medicinal, or cultural significance, there is much to appreciate about this unique and versatile plant.

One interesting fact about Cape gooseberries is that they are sometimes referred to as "ground cherries" in North America. This is because the fruit is often found growing close to the ground and has a similar size and shape to cherries.

Another interesting aspect of the Cape gooseberry is its potential health benefits. In addition to being a good source of vitamins and minerals, the fruit contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help protect against chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Research has also suggested that the Cape gooseberry may have antiviral and antibacterial properties, and it may help boost the immune system. However, more studies are needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of this fruit.

In terms of cooking and serving Cape gooseberries, there are many options. The fruit can be eaten raw, but it is also delicious when cooked or baked. It pairs well with other fruits, such as strawberries or raspberries, and it can be used in jams, pies, and other desserts.

The papery husk of the Cape gooseberry can also be used in creative ways. It can be removed and dried, then used as a decorative element in crafts or home décor. It can also be used to make lanterns or other festive decorations for special occasions.

The Cape gooseberry is a fascinating and versatile fruit that has a long history of use in many cultures. Whether you are interested in its culinary or medicinal properties, or simply enjoy its unique flavor and appearance, there is much to appreciate about this little-known fruit.

One interesting culinary use of Cape gooseberries is in chutneys and relishes. The sweet and tangy flavor of the fruit pairs well with savory ingredients such as onion, garlic, and ginger. Cape gooseberry chutney can be served as a condiment with meats, cheeses, or crackers, or used as a topping for sandwiches and burgers.

Another way to enjoy Cape gooseberries is in cocktails and mocktails. The fruit can be muddled or pureed to add a fruity and tangy flavor to drinks. It pairs well with spirits such as gin, vodka, and tequila, as well as with non-alcoholic mixers like lemonade or soda water.

Cape gooseberries are also used in traditional medicine in some cultures. In Peru, for example, the fruit is used to treat digestive problems such as diarrhea and dysentery. The plant's leaves and roots are also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including inflammation, fever, and asthma.

Despite its many potential health benefits, it is important to note that Cape gooseberries are not a cure-all for any particular ailment, and more research is needed to fully understand the medicinal properties of the fruit.

In terms of cultivation, Cape gooseberries are relatively easy to grow in a home garden or container. They prefer well-drained soil and full sun, and they can be started from seed or from transplants. The plants typically grow to be about 2-3 feet tall and may need to be staked or supported as they grow.

Overall, the Cape gooseberry is a fascinating and versatile fruit with many potential uses. Whether you are interested in its culinary, medicinal, or decorative properties, there are many ways to appreciate this unique and tasty fruit.