Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Physalis curassavica L.; Physalis fuscomaculata Dunal

Common name(s): [more details]

English: grape ground-cherry, prairie ground-cherry, starhair groundcherry, sticky Cape-gooseberry, sticky physalis, sticky-gooseberry

Spanish: physalis

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Erect to decumbent, subdichotomously ± branched, perennial herb, (5) 14-40 cm high (said to reach 80 cm elsewhere), arising from an elongated cord-like, flexuous, knotted, creeping rhizome, yellowish-green, viscid, ± clothed all over with stalked-stellate 2-3-branched and also somewhat dendritic, spreading hairs of varying size, short in the Flora Zambesiaca area, more dense on new growth, furnished with sessile glands too. Branches subterete-angular, striate, scabrid. Leaves solitary or geminate; petiole 0.4-1.8 cm long, slightly winged, rather sheathing at the base; lamina membranous or papyraceous, 0.9-4.2 x 0.4-2 cm, ovate to lanceolate, occasionally elliptic or obovate to spathulate, base cuneate or attenuate (or elsewhere sometimes ± cordate), and often oblique or unequal-sided, ± decurrent into the petiole, apex obtuse or somewhat acute, occasionally bluntly sub-acuminate, entire to coarsely sinuate-dentate distally (very rarely so in the Flora Zambesiaca area), the teeth unequal, obtuse, the sinuses rounded, densely viscid-hairy, glabrescent. Flowers solitary, axillary, drooping or nodding; pedicel 10-20 mm long, hairy and glandular, in fruit elongated to 25 mm. Calyx 6-8 mm long, 4-6(7) mm across at the base of the lobes, cylindric-campanulate, sub-angled, truncate or invaginated at the base, hairy, and glandular especially towards the base, glabrous inside apart from minute indumentum towards the lobe tips; lobes unequal, 1.8-3 x 1.8-3 mm, ovate or ± triangular, acute or acuminate, ciliate; in fruit ± yellowish when ripe, 17-23 x 15-20 mm, subglobose or ovoid, 10-angled and -ribbed, obtuse distally and acuminate at the summit, half to three-quarters filled by the fruit, with a few minute hairs along the ribs and more dense hairs towards the apex of the lobes, viscid, the lobes 3-5 x 2-3.5 mm and also hairy inside. Corolla yellowish or greenish-yellow, blotched with 5 dark purplish (or green) markings ± contrasting with the surrounding limb, 10-15 mm long, subrotate; tube glabrous, on the inside with dense felted indumentum from near the insertion of the stamens to the mouth; limb 10-15 mm across, sinuate or with 5 ± prominent angles, reflexed when fully expanded, hairy outside, glabrous inside, ciliate. Stamens slightly exserted, one longer than the other 4, glabrous; filaments 3-5 mm long, filiform, attached to the corolla tube near the base; anthers yellow, 2.5-3 mm long, linear to narrowly ovate-oblong in outline, straight after anthesis. Disk 0.2-0.3 mm high, fleshy, glabrous. Ovary 1.2-1.7 x 1.2-1.6 mm, ovoid, glabrous; style 7-9 mm long, filiform, straight or slightly bent. Fruit greenish-yellow to orange, occasionally reddish, subsessile on the invaginated base of the drooping to pendulous calyx, 8 x 7 mm, turbinate or ± globose, viscid. Seeds orange, 2 x 1.8 mm, broadly ovate to suborbicular in outline, reticulate-foveate"  (Flora Zambesiaca).

Habitat/ecology:  "A weed of cultivation and in disturbed ground" (Flora Zambesiaca). 

"In Chile this species grows in the following environmental conditions:  Low altitude, interior valleys; coastal mountains, 500-2000 m; coastal areas, 0-500 m.  Humid areas, with almost constant rainfall, short dry periods are possible (generally not longer than 1 month); somewhat dry areas where the drought may last 3-5 months, precipitations of 400-800 mm. are concentrated in winter.  Fully exposed to the sun, level areas or slopes facing north; some shadow, some protection against direct sunlight, some shadow from vegetation, filtering about 20-40% of light; in shadow, steep slopes facing south or a vegetation cover which filters 40-80% of light"  (Chileflora).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay and perhaps native elsewhere in South America; naturalized elsewhere (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Chile (offshore islands)
Rapa Nui (Easter) Island
Rapa Nui (Easter) Island (Isla de Pasqua) introduced
invasive
Meyer, Jean-Yves (2008) (p. 29)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Chile (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Belov, Michail (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)


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This page was created on 4 APR 2009 and was last updated on 10 JAN 2011.