longleaf groundcherry

(Physalis longifolia)

longleaf groundcherry
Photo by Nancy Falkum

Longleaf groundcherry, also called common groundcherry, is a native, common, and widespread flowering plant. It occurs in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, but it is mostly absent from the southeast. It also occurs in southern Ontario Canada and in Mexico. In Minnesota it is relatively common in the southern third of the state, but it is absent from the north.

Longleaf groundcherry is found in fields, weedy meadows, open woodlands, prairies, disturbed areas, roadsides, railroads, gardens, and yards. It grows under full to partial sun, in moist to moderately moist conditions, in fertile loamy soil. It can be weedy, having the potential to overpopulate an area and upsetting its normal biological balance.


There are two generally recognized varieties of longleaf groundcherry: var. subglabrata in the east and var. longifolia in the west. Where the two varieties occur together, including in southern Minnesota, there is considerable overlap in characteristics, making identification of the variety difficult.


Longleaf groundcherry is a perennial, 16 to 32 (4 to 8 dm) tall forb.

Stems are stout, erect or ascending, and branched. They are often tinged purplish and are either hairless or sparsely covered with very short, upward appressed, nonglandular hairs.

Leaves are alternate and are on 4 to 10 (10 to 25 cm) long leaf stalks (petioles). Leaf blades are unlobed, narrowly lance-shaped to egg-shaped, 1¼to 3½ (3 to 9 cm) long and to ¾ (1 to 2 cm) wide. They may be thick and firm or thin. The margins may be mostly toothless (entire) or have a few irregular, wavy (sinuate) teeth. The leaves may be hairless or be sparsely covered with minute, appressed, nonglandular hairs.

The inflorescence is single flowers nodding at the end of 516to ½ (8 to 12 mm) long, minutely hairy stalks (pedicels) rising from the leaf axils.

The flowers are ½ to ¾ (12 to 20 mm) long and wide. The corolla is bell-shaped and yellow with purple to brown splotches near the center. The cup-like group of outer floral leaves (calyx) is hairless or is sparsely covered with minute, upward appressed, nonglandular hairs. The anthers may be yellow, blue, or gray.

The fruit is a ¼ to ½ (6 to 12 mm) in diameter, spherical berry enclosed in an egg-shaped, papery, to 1½ (1 to 4 cm) long husk. It hangs downward from a to 1long pedicel.


Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 24, 29, 30.

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Solanales (nightshades, bindweeds, gooseweeds, and allies)  


Solanaceae (nightshade)  
  Subfamily Solanoideae (nightshades and allies)  
  Tribe Physaleae (groundcherries, lanterns, and allies)  
  Subtribe Physalinae  


Physalis (groundcherries)  

Subordinate Taxa


longleaf groundcherry (Physalis longifolia var. longifolia)

longleaf groundcherry (Physalis longifolia var. subglabrata)


Most authors recognize two varieties, var. subglabrata and the nominate variety, var. longifolia. A third variety, var. texana, has been described but it is not widely recognized. Some authors treat var. subglabrata as a distinct species, Physalis subglabrata.




Physalis macrophysa

Physalis polyphylla

Physalis pumila var. sonorae

Physalis rigida

Physalis virginiana var. longiseta

Physalis virginiana var. polyphylla

Physalis virginiana var. sonorae


Common Names


common ground cherry

common ground-cherry

common groundcherry

long-leaf ground-cherry

long-leaf groundcherry

long-leaved ground-cherry

long-leaved groundcherry

longleaf groundcherry

longleaf ground-cherry

wild tomato













The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.



The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube. Plural: calyces.



A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.



On plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. On insects: the second segment of the antennae. On Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen: the preferred term is petiole.



On plants: The stalk of a leaf blade or a compound leaf that attaches it to the stem. On ants and wasps: The constricted first one or two segments of the rear part of the body.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.





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Nancy Falkum


Physalis longifolia Ground cherry at TNC Cox Unit

    longleaf groundcherry      
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  Nancy Falkum

Location: Weaver Dunes Preserve, Cox Unit, 126th Avenue off 598th Street off Wabasha County 84.

Physalis longifolia Ground cherry at TNC Cox Unit

longleaf groundcherry

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Created: 10/1/2023

Last Updated:

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