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Tomatillo—Physalis ixocarpa Brot. ex Hornem.1

James M. Stephens 2

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. Tomatillo.
Figure 1.  Tomatillo.
Credit: Blue Goose, Inc.

Figure 2. Husk tomato.
Figure 2.  Husk tomato.
Credit: James M. Stephens, UF/IFAS

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.


1. 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
2. James M. Stephens, professor emeritus, Horticultural Sciences Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #HS677

Date: 11/5/2018

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