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Publication #HS677

Tomatillo—Physalis ixocarpa Brot. ex Hornem.1

James M. Stephens2

The tomatillo is a close relative to the husk tomato. Both have small tomato-like fruits enclosed in thin papery husks. Varieties of tomatillo usually have larger fruits than the husk tomato.

Figure 1. 



Blue Goose, Inc.

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Figure 2. 

Husk tomato.


James M. Stephens, UF/IFAS

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Tomatillo, which was introduced to the United States from Mexico, is popular with Latinos. For this reason it is grown to a very limited extent in south Florida for the Cuban Americans in that region.


Both tomatillo and husk tomato grow well in Florida gardens when planted and cultivated in a manner similar to tomatoes. Fall production in Gainesville, FL, has proven very successful. The tomato fruit worm causes severe injury to the fruits at times.


The round 3-inch diameter green or purplish fruits are used in making chili sauce and in other Mexican dishes.



This document is HS677, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date May 1994. Revised September 2015. Reviewed October 2018. Visit the EDIS website at


James M. Stephens, professor emeritus, Horticultural Sciences Department; UF/IFAS Extension, 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.