University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #SP 37

Cutleaf Ground-cherry, Physalis angulata L.1

David W. Hall, Vernon V. Vandiver and Brent A. Sellers2


Common Name: Cutleaf Ground-cherry

Scientific Name: Physalis angulata L.

Family: Solanaceae, Nightshade Family


The cotyledons are ovate with reddish petioles and without a distinct midvein (Figure 1). The first leaves are similar in shape to the cotyledons, but with an acute apex and evident venation.

Figure 1. 

Seedling, Cutleaf Ground-cherry, Physalis angulata L.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Mature Plant

Cutleaf Ground-cherry is an annual herb growing to 1 m in height (Figure 2). It is usually hairless; however, occasional plants have short appressed hairs especially on the younger parts. The leaves are ovate to lanceolate, 4-10 cm long and 3-6 cm wide. The petioles are up to 4 cm long or longer. The leaf margin is usually irregularly toothed but may be smooth. The leaf bases are unequal. The flowers are borne on stalks from 5-40 mm in length. The corolla is yellow, usually without spots or occasionally with distinct spots, and is from 4-12 mm long and 6-12 mm wide. The anthers are bluish or violet, up to 2.5 mm long and are borne on stalks up to 5 mm long. The green outer layer is 4-7 mm long with triangular lobes about as long as the tube. The fruit is enclosed in the outer layer. This outer layer (calyx) grows around and encloses the fruit and becomes 10-angled or ribbed, 20-35 mm long and from 15-25 mm wide; it is borne on a stalk 1-4 cm long.

Figure 2. 

Mature plant, Cutleaf Ground-cherry, Physalis angulata L.

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


The genus name Physalis, a Greek word, means bladder and refers to the inflated calyx, while the Latin species name angulata means angled and refers to the stems.


This weed occurs in fields, pastures, roadsides and open woodlands throughout Florida to eastern Texas and northward to Pennsylvania. It prefers disturbed sites.


Maximum germination occurred at 21°C with 10 hours of alternating temperatures and 30°C with 14 hours of alternating temperatures. Planting depth directly affected emergence with a decrease from 89 percent to 0 percent with a corresponding increase of depth from 0.0 cm-10.0 cm. The many-seeded fruit is edible when ripe.



This document is SP 37, one of a series of the Agronomy Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date May 1991. Revised February 2006. Reviewed January 2012. Visit the EDIS website at


David W. Hall, former extension botanist, Herbarium, Florida Museum of Natural History; Vernon V. Vandiver, associate professor emeritus, Agronomy Department; Brent A. Sellers, assistant professor, Agronomy Department, Range Cattle Research and Education Center--Ona, FL; Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.