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Perennial Ground Cherry
Perennial Ground Cherry

Perennial Ground Cherry

Regular price $4.00 Sale

Physalis heterophylla

Origin: Massachusetts

Improvement Status: Wild/Cultivated material

Seeds per packet: ~15

Germination tested: Botanical sample - not germination tested

Ground cherries are sweet-fruited husk tomatoes in the same genus as tomatillos. While the other two varieties we sell are annuals, this one is a perennial. It is also known as "Clammy Ground Cherry" due to the sometimes sticky nature of the plants. It is less productive than the annual cultivated varieties, but requires far less maintenance and may be valuable for breeding. The flavor of a fully ripe fruit is very reminiscent of pineapple.

This accession was collected in Holyoke, Massachusetts, by Eric Toensmeier, who now grows it in his garden. Our seed was produced by Eric himself, the noted author of books including Paradise Lot, Perennial Vegetables, Edible Forest Gardens, and The Carbon Farming Solution. We're very honored to be offering seeds this year for four perennial edibles from Eric's personal collection. It was a 2013 lecture by Eric on perennial industrial crops and carbon farming that gave Nate the idea to start EFN.

GROWING TIPS: Seeds should probably be started in flats relatively early. They may take a long time to germinate. Plant out and grow as you would tomatillos. Expect them to spread via underground roots, but don't expect them to become problematic. While they are perennial and spreading, they tend not to take over but grow in a more diffuse pattern.

(Close-up fruit photo courtesy Matthieu Godbout, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license, depicts the same species, but a different accession from Eric's. Main photo of plants is from Eric.)