Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Physalis minima
L., Solanaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Physalis lagascae R. & S.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chamorro: tomate chaca

Chinese: xiao suan jiang

Chuukese: chi

English: bubble fruit, ground cherry, sunberry, wild cape gooseberry

I-Kiribati: te baraki, te bin

Nauruan: oatamo, watamo

Niuean: manini

Pohnpeian: ti

Spanish: vejiga de perro

Tongan: polo pa

Tuvaluan: pini

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Bushy annual to 50 cm, glabrous or with minute simple hairs.  Leaves alternate, 1 or sometimes 2 per node (but not opposite); lamina ovate-lanceolate, rounded to cuneate at base, usually 4-6 cm long, 2-3 cm wide, sometimes larger, entire or shallowly toothed or lobed; petiole to 6 cm long.  Pedicels usually 20-25 mm long, occasionally shorter.  Calyx 3-5 mm long; lobes triangular, acute, 1-2 mm long.  Corolla 5-angled, 5-8 mm long, pale creamy-yellow, usually with large brownish spots towards base.  Anthers 2-2.5 mm long.  Style 4-5 mm long.  Fruiting calyx 10-angled with 5 minor and 5 major veins, 23-30 mm long, pale green (pale brown when dry). Berry globular, 8-14 mm in diameter.  Seeds disc-shaped to broadly reniform, 1-1.5 (2) mm long, pale yellow" (George, 1982; p. 181).

"The differences between Physalis angulata and P. mimima are not clear.  In Java and New Caledonia both species are said to be present, and a distinction between them is suggested somewhat as follows:

P. angulata:  "Stems mostly green, hollow, strongly angular-ribbed distally; stem ribs, petioles, and pedicels with very short, upcurved hairs, glabrescent; petioles 2-11 cm long; leaf blades 5-10 x 2.5-8 cm, short-pilose on both surfaces, glabrate, usually obviously and irregularly dentate but sometimes  merely sinuate; pedicels 7-15 mm long at anthesis, to 25 mm long in fruit; calyx appressed-pilose without, glabrescent; corolla 7-12 mm in diameter, with 5 sometimes very obscure blotches within; fruiting calyx 20-40 mm long, subglobose-acuminate, with 10 slightly projecting angles, glabrous; fruits 10-12 mm in diameter, with an inconspicuous stipe scarcely 1 mm long."

P. minima:  "Stems often purple-tinged, with only a narrow cavity, inconspicuously angular-ribbed distally; stems, petioles, and pedicels pilose (sometimes sparsely so) with spreading hairs, glabrescent; petioles 0.5-3 (-6.5?) cm long; leaf blades 1.5-5 (-9?) x 1-3 (-6?) cm, spreading-pilose on both surfaces, glabrescent, entire or sparsely dentate toward apex; pedicels 2-5 (-10?) mm long at anthesis, to 9 (-15?) mm long in fruit; calyx short-spreading-pilose without, glabrescent; corolla 4-5 (-7) mm in diameter, with 5 very distinct brown blotches within; fruiting calyx 12-25 mm long, ovoid-acuminate, with 5 pronounced angles, sparsely pilose on nerves; fruits 5-7 mm in diameter, sessile"  (Smith, 1991; pp. 29-31).

Habitat/ecology:  "A widespread weed of disturbed areas.  Frequently found near rivers" (George, 1982; p. 181). In Tonga, "occasional as a plantation weed" (Yuncker, 1959; pp. 236-237). In New Caledonia, "mauvaise herbe peu commune bien que présente depuis longtemps" (MacKee, 1994; p. 131).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Pantropical, probable origin neotropics (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Agrigan (Agrihan) Island introduced
Ohba, T. (1994) (p. 62)
Voucher cited: CBM-BS-59095
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Alamagan Island introduced
Ohba, T. (1994) (p. 62)
Voucher cited: CBM-BS-68960
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Anatahan Island native
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 245)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Anatahan Island native
Fosberg, F. R./Falanruw, M. V. C./Sachet, M.-H. (1975) (p. 39)
Voucher cited: Falanruw 1971 (US)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Asuncion Island   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Farallon de Pajaros (Uracas) Island native
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 245)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Farallon de Pajaros (Uracas) Island native
Fosberg, F. R./Falanruw, M. V. C./Sachet, M.-H. (1975) (p. 39)
Voucher cited: Falanruw 2199 (US)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Farallon de Pajaros (Uracas) Island introduced
Ohba, T. (1994) (p. 62)
Voucher cited: CBM-BS-59190
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Guguan Island native
Raulerson, L. (2006) (p. 60)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Maug Island native
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 245)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Maug Island introduced
Ohba, T. (1994) (p. 62)
Voucher cited: CBM-BS-59147
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Pagan Island native
Fosberg, F. R./Falanruw, M. V. C./Sachet, M.-H. (1980) (p. 213)
Voucher cited: Falanruw 3263 (US)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Pagan Island native
Raulerson, L. (2006) (p. 60)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Sarigan Island native
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 245)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Sarigan Island native
Fosberg, F. R./Falanruw, M. V. C./Sachet, M.-H. (1975) (p. 39)
Vouchers cited: Evans 2361 (US, BISH, Fo, NY), Falanruw 1743 (US), Falanruw 1776 (US), Falanruw 1749 (US?)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Puluwat (Pwonowót) Atoll native
Manner, H. I./Mallon, E. (1989) (p. 58)
Voucher cited: Manner & Mallon 221 (GUAM)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Ulalu (Romonum) Island native
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 245)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Ant Atoll   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island   Glassman, S. F. (1952) (p. 99)
Voucher cited: Kanehira 777 (NY)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
invasive
Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. (2010) (p. 137)
Voucher cited: S.F. Glassman 2803 (BISH)
Naturalized
Federated States of Micronesia
Yap Islands
Ulithi Atoll   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
Kiribati
Line Islands
Kiritimati (Christmas) Atoll introduced
invasive
Wester, Lyndon (1985) (p. 31)
Volunteer in disturbed areas.
Kiribati
Line Islands
Teraina (Washington) Island introduced
invasive
Wester, Lyndon (1985) (p. 31)
Volunteer in disturbed areas.
Nauru
Nauru Island
Nauru Island introduced
invasive
Thaman, R. R./Fosberg, F. R./Manner, H. I./Hassall, D. C. (1994) (p. 199)
Voucher cited: Fosberg 58646 (US)
New Caledonia
Îles Loyauté (Loyalte Islands)
Île Tiga introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 131)
Voucher cited: Toutain 3662 (NOU)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 131)
Vouchers cited: Védel s.n., Deplanche 317, Balansa 516, Bougier s.n., MacKee 15645
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
Sykes, W. R. (1970) (p. 197)
Status uncertain. Voucher cited: CHR 169963
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
Yuncker, T. G. (1943) (p. 105)
Vouchers cited: Yuncker 9745 (BISH), Yuncker 10101 (BISH)
"Occasional weed along roadsides, in plantations and waste areas".
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara M./Newfield, Melanie/Bull, Cate (2004) (p. 45)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (p. 102)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Lorence, David H./LaRosa, Anne Marie (2009) (p. 64)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Peleliu (Beliliou) Island native
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 245)
Papua New Guinea
Bismarck Archipelago
Bismarck Archipelago invasive
Peekel, P. G. [translated by E. E. Henty] (1984) (p. 492)
Common weed in native gardens, also in open places and on rubbish heaps.
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)   Henty, E. E./Pritchard, G. H. (1975) (p. 149)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands   Waterhouse, D. F. (1993) (p. 68)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands invasive
Merrill, Elmer D. (1923) (p. 423)
Common in open wste places at low altitudes, ascending to 1,600 m.
Tonga
Tongatapu Group
‘Eua Island   Yuncker, T. G. (1959) (pp. 236-237)
Voucher cited: Yuncker 15463
Tonga
Vava‘u Group
Late Island introduced
Sykes, W. R. (1981) (p. 351)
Tonga
Vava‘u Group
Vava‘u Island   Yuncker, T. G. (1959) (pp. 236-237)
Cited: Crosby.
Tonga
Vava‘u Group
Vava‘u Island   Burkill, I. H. (1900) (p. 49)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental)   Holm, Leroy/Pancho, Juan V./Herberger, James P./Plucknett, Donald L. (1979) (pp. 278-279)
China
China
China (People's Republic of)   Holm, Leroy/Pancho, Juan V./Herberger, James P./Plucknett, Donald L. (1979) (pp. 278-279)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of)   Waterhouse, D. F. (1993) (p. 68)
Malaysia
Malaysia
Malaysia (country of)   Waterhouse, D. F. (1993) (p. 68)
Negara Brunei Darussalam
Brunei
Brunei (Negara Brunei Darussalam)   Waterhouse, D. F. (1993) (p. 68)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of)   Waterhouse, D. F. (1993) (p. 68)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) uncertain if introduced
invasive
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 69)
Weed of uncertain origin
Thailand
Thailand
Thailand (Kingdom of)   Waterhouse, D. F. (1993) (p. 68)
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Indian Ocean offshore islands)
Christmas Island Group
Christmas Island native
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1993) (p. 19)
Australia (Indian Ocean offshore islands)
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Cocos (Keeling) Islands introduced
invasive
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1993) (pp. 37, 39)
On both main atoll and North Keeling Island.
Maldives
Maldive Islands
Maldive Islands   Fosberg, F. R. (1957) (p. 32)
"Sparsely in the whole group".
Maldives
Maldive Islands
Malè Atoll   Fosberg, F. R. (1957) (p. 32)

Comments:  See also Physalis angulata.


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 21 OCT 2006.