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Physalis peruvianis- Physalis peruviana L. Solanaceae Common Names: Cape Gooseberry, Goldenberry, Husk Cherry, Peruvian Ground Cherry, Poha, Poha Berry. The ripe fruit can be eaten out of hand or used in a number of other ways. The unique flavor of the fresh fruit makes it an interesting ingredient in salads and cooked dishes. Cape gooseberries cooked with apples or ginger make a very distinctive dessert. The fruits are also an attractive sweet when dipped in chocolate or other glazes or pricked and rolled in sugar. The high pectin content makes cape gooseberry a good preserve and jam product that can be used as a dessert topping. The fruit also dries into tasty "raisins". The fruit is a berry with smooth, waxy, orange-yellow skin and juicy pulp containing numerous very small yellowish seeds. As the fruits ripen, they begin to drop to the ground, but will continue to mature and change from green to the golden-yellow of the mature fruit. The unripe fruit is said to be poisonous to some people. Cape gooseberries are self-pollinated but pollination is enhanced by a gentle shaking of the flowering stems or giving the plants a light spraying with water. The cape gooseberry is native to Brazil but long ago became naturalized in the highlands of Peru and Chile and became identified with the region. It was being grown in England in 1774 and was cultivated by early settlers at the Cape of Good Hope before 1807. Soon after introduction to the Cape the plant was carried to Australia where it quickly spread into the wild. Seeds were taken to Hawaii before 1825 and the plant is naturalized on all the islands at medium and somewhat higher altitudes. Only in fairly recent times has the fruit received any attention in the continental U.S. The cape gooseberry is an annual in at temperate regions and a perennial in the tropics. In the Andean regions of South America it grows wild between 2,500 and 10,000 ft. The wild range in Hawaii is 1,000 to 8,000 ft. The plants are frost tender and are killed at temperatures of about 30° F. In much of California the cape gooseberry is best grown as an annual, but will persist for several years in frost-free areas of southern California. Some California growers have grown seedling materials under glass during the fall and winter and set out in early spring to gain the advantage of the longest possible growing season. The plants are easily grown in pots and adapt well to greenhouse culture.


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