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Old 02-10-2009, 02:47 PM   #1
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Default Clammy Ground Cherry, Physalis heterophylla

http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/...cl_cherryx.htm

Does anyone have any experience with this plant? It's a nifty North-American native, and I have a patch of it next to our shed. However, both summers that we have been here, although the plants look healthy enough, the fruit withers and rots inside of its little paper lantern. Of the dozens I've picked that looked healthy on the outside, only two fruits were in any shape to eat.

If it is a disease, can I salvage the plants? Since these are in the nightshade family, do I need to kill the plants to prevent the problem from spreading to our nearby tomatoes?

Thank you. . .
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Old 02-10-2009, 04:47 PM   #2
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You do have to catch the cherries before the balloon dries or starts to wither, but after they've turned reddish in there. If you've been waiting too late (and it's hard to tell), the cherries may have just been withering/ drying out naturally. I hope that's all it is so you can try some this year. I can't really describe them except to say that they're really good and not like anything else I know.

If you're sure it's a disease, then I'm afraid I have no advice on whether it will affect your tomatoes. Did the tomatoes have problems last year?
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Old 02-10-2009, 05:32 PM   #3
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The tomatoes were great last year, thanks! But with the ground cherries, they rot before they're even ripe, long before the paper lantern part dries out. They get moldy and shrivel up. It's rather nasty opening one of those cute pods to find fuzzy yuck inside.

I really want another taste of these! I vaguely recall a perplexing flavor not unlike pineapple.
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:15 AM   #4
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Well, that's no good. Ick in a balloon. I'm afraid I don't have any advice, though. I don't even grow 'em, just appreciate the ones that appear.
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