Physalis peruviana, Cape gooseberry, Aztec berry seeds
Physalis peruviana belongs to the family of the Solanaceae, the nightshades. In the last few
years this plant got modern here in Europe. It is also known as Cape gooseberry, Aztec berry
or abbreviated Physalis. It is native to Southamerica. The nickname Cape gooseberry is due to
the fact that seamen brought P. peruviana from Southamerica to Africa. In Africa the plant
grew best at the Cape of New Hope.
P. peruviana is a perennial plant which is not hardy. It reaches a height of 0, 5 to 2 m and is
pubescent. The shoot as well as the venation is a little violet. The leaves are ovate, and dentate
more or less at the leaf edge. They are 5 to 10 cm long and 4 to 7 cm wide. The flowers are
relatively small, 12 to 14 mm long and as well that wide. The corolla is yellowish with dark
violet to brown colored spots in the middle near the 5 stamens. The flowers have 6 to 8 mm
The fruits are bright orange, the get 12 to 20 mm long and 10 to 15 mm wide. They are very
sticky. The fruit is surrounded by the big calyx. The calyx is like parchment. It is brownish
orange. The fruits include a lot of vitamin A, C, B1 and iron. It is very healthy. They taste like
a mix of pineapple and gooseberry. One can make jam out of the fruits. They are also used to
put it at cocktail glasses for decoration. The unripe fruits that look like lampions are arranged
in bouquets for decoration. The seeds are small and whitish; they lie in the pulp and can be
eaten as well.
The seeds should be planted at 25°C. Germination occurs in about 1- 3 weeks. It should be
kept constantly moist but not wet. When put outside, P. peruviana should stand at a very
sunny place. Keeping the plant outside is much better than keeping her in the glasshouse.
Outside the plant produces much more fruits while in the glasshouse it produces more leaves.
Before the first frost P. peruviana has to be put into the house. A temperature of 10 to 15°C is
best during the winter time.