Physalis angulata (Wild Gooseberry)

Scientific name

Physalis angulata L.


Physalis angulata L. var. angulata; Physalis ciliata Sieber; Physalis minima L. (misapplied); Physalis minima L. var. indica (Lam.) C.B. Clarke (misapplied); Physalis indica Lam. (misapplied); Physalis parviflora R. Br.

Common names

Wild gooseberry, annual ground cherry, annual groundcherry, bladder cherry, bladderberry, bush tomato, Chinese lantern, Chinese lanternplant, cut leaf ground cherry, cutleaf ground cherry, cutleaf ground-cherry, cutleaf groundcherry, goose berry, gooseberry, ground cherry, husk tomato, Indian gooseberry weed, mullaca, native gooseberry, wild tomato, winter cherry.




This species probably originated in tropical America, but is now widespread throughout tropical, subtropical and warmer temperate regions of the world (almost cosmopolitan).

Naturalised distribution (global)

Locations within which Physalis angulata is naturalised include India, eastern Africa and some oceanic islands with warm climates.

Introduced, naturalised or invasive in East Africa

Physalis angulata is invasive in Uganda and is present in Kenya and Tanzania (A.B.R. Witt pers. obs.).


Urban open spaces, disturbed areas, roadsides, croplands, orchards, nurseries, fallow land, It grows best in moist, fertile soils and is tolerant of partial shade.


Branched erect nearly hairless herbaceous shrub which can reach up to 2 m in height.. It has a characteristic angled hollow stem. Its leaves are light green often with a toothed-edge. Its pale yellow flowers are five-sided and its edible yellow-orange flowers are surrounded by a balloon-like calyx.

Economic and other uses

Physalis angulata is a medicinal plant.

Environmental and other impacts

Physalis angulata is a weed of cropland, gardens and plantations. It is also a host to many viruses of lucerne, tobacco, potato, sweet pepper and okra.


The precise management measures adopted for any plant invasion will depend upon factors such as the terrain, the cost and availability of labour, the severity of the infestation and the presence of other invasive species.

The best form of invasive species management is prevention. If prevention is no longer possible, it is best to treat the weed infestations when they are small to prevent them from establishing (early detection and rapid response). Controlling the weed before it seeds will reduce future problems. Control is generally best applied to the least infested areas before dense infestations are tackled. Consistent follow-up work is required for sustainable management.

Physalis angulata is resistant to dinitroalanine herbicides and 2,4-D.

The editors do not know of any biological control programmes targeted at this species.


Not listed as a noxious weed by the state or governments in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.


CABI Invasive Species Compendium online data sheet. Physalis angulata (cutleaf groundcherry). CABI Publishing 2011. Accessed March 2011.

Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). Physalis angulate L., Solanaceae: plant threats to Pacific ecosystems. Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, Hawaii, USA. Accessed March 2011.


Agnes Lusweti, National Museums of Kenya; Emily Wabuyele, National Museums of Kenya, Paul Ssegawa, Makerere University; John Mauremootoo, BioNET-INTERNATIONAL Secretariat - UK.


This fact sheet is adapted from The Environmental Weeds of Australia by Sheldon Navie and Steve Adkins, Centre for Biological Information Technology, University of Queensland. We recognise the support from the National Museums of Kenya, Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) - Tanzania and Makerere University, Uganda. This activity was undertaken as part of the BioNET-EAFRINET UVIMA Project (Taxonomy for Development in East Africa).


BioNET-EAFRINET Regional Coordinator: [email protected]