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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Clammy Groundcherry

Scientific Name: Physalis heterophylla Nees.

Other Names: coqueret hétérophylle, cerise de terre

Family: Nightshade or Potato Family (Solanaceae)

General Description: Perennial, reproducing by seed and by deeply penetrating and widely spreading roots.

Habitat: Occurs in southern Ontario under dry open woodland, in pastures, cultivated fields waste areas and roadsides, especially in well-drained coarse soils.


  • Cotyledons:
    • Hairy
    • Green
    • 4- 9 mm (0.16- 0.35 in.) long
    • 1- 4 mm (0.04- 0.16 in.) wide


  • Erect
  • 20- 90 cm (8- 36 in.) high
  • Branched in the upper part in 3’s (2 branches and 1 leaf petiole) with a flower in the centre
  • Covered with sticky hairs


  • Alternate (1 per node)
  • Long-stalked
  • Ovate to somewhat rounded or diamond shaped in outline
  • Margins smooth or with shallowly irregularly rounded teeth
  • Covered with sticky hairs


  • Borne singly in the angles where 2 or 3 stems and leaves come together
  • Drooping on short stalks
  • Calyx at first tubular with 5 short lobes
  • Petals form a trumpet-shaped corolla
  • Mostly yellow with a dark purple centre
  • Flowers from June to September


  • Spherical
  • Green berry turns yellowish when ripe
  • Resembles a small tomato
  • Contains many small seeds

Often Confused With
Smooth Groundcherry (Clammy groundcherry is very hairy all over, while smooth groundcherry is slightly hairy, and older shoots are smooth)
Horse-nettle (Horse-nettle has prickles on the stems and leaves)

Berry of clammy ground cherry Clammy ground cherry flower
Click to enlarge.