*Physalis lanceifolia Nees, Linnaea 6: 473 (1831)

T: Described from material native to Central and South America; n.v.

See discussion by Bean in ASBS Newsletter 127: 7 (2006) on the name of this species.


Annual to 50 cm, glabrescent or sparsely pubescent with minute, simple hairs.

Leaves alternate, 1 or 2 per node (but not opposite); lamina narrowly elliptic, cuneate at base, usually 5–7 cm long, 2 cm wide, sometimes larger entire, sinuate or lobed; petiole up to 4 cm long, grooved above.

Pedicels 15–30 mm long. Calyx 2.5–5 mm long; lobes triangular, 1–2.5 mm long. Corolla 5–angled, 5–7 mm long, yellow with darker yellow centre. Anthers 1.5–2 mm long. Style 2.5 mm long.

Berry globular, 12–15 mm diam.; fruiting calyx 10–angled, 25–32 mm long, pale yellow-green. Seeds disc-shaped to broadly reniform, 1.5–2 mm long, pale yellowish-brown.

Distribution and ecology

Native to southern United States of America and Mexico. Introduced (c. 1924) weed now occurring in south-eastern Qld (mostly in the Darling Downs district), northern N.S.W., and the Gippsland district of Vic. 

Confined to seasonally wet areas with heavy clay soil.


A table showing differences between some of the commoner groundcherry species, including this one, can be seen at

Selected specimens

Qld: Near Bymount, R.W. Johnson 2245 (BRI). N.S.W.: between Goodooga & Lightning Ridge, K.L. Wilson 1798 (NSW).


Derivation of epithet

From lanceolatus, Latin for lance-like and folius, latin for leaf, a reference to the shape of the leaf.

Images and information on web

Information on this species in NSW can be seen on the PlantNet site at

An image of the fruits of P. lanceifolia can be seen on the Botanical and Experimental Garden of the Radboud University of Nijmegen site through their Solanaceae database search page.

Information about Physalis species as weeds in California can be found on the Encycloweedia pages at

Further information about the possible toxic properties of Physalis species can be found with a search in the FDA Poisonous Plant Database


Note: with the confusion surrounding the application of names in Physalis, information given on the web which is species specific should be viewed with some caution.