Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Physalis angulata L.

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
Click/tap on images to enlarge
Leaves, flowers and fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO

Linnaeus, C. von (1753) Species Plantarum 1: 183. Type: Habitat in India utraque.

Common name

Gooseberry, Green; Gooseberry, Wild; Green Gooseberry; Ground Cherry; Sunberry; Wild Gooseberry; Cherry, Ground; Gooseberry; Annual Ground Cherry; Cherry, Annual Ground


Usually flowers and fruits as a shrub about 1 m tall.


Leaf blades about 4-10 x 2-7 cm, thin and papery, teeth large, few in number and therefore +/- equivalent to lobes. Twigs glabrous, longitudinally grooved. Petioles narrowly winged, each wing +/- vertical so that the upper surface of the petiole is +/- channelled. Leaves often in pairs on the twigs but not opposite one another. Leaf blade slightly arched between the lateral veins or the lateral veins impressed on the upper surface of the leaf blade. Twig pith hollow.


Pedicels about 20-25 mm long. Calyx about 3-5 mm long, lobes triangular, acute, about 1-2 mm long. Corolla about 5-8 mm long, +/- yellow but with a greenish brown centre. Anthers about 2-2.5 mm long, filaments purple, attached close to the base of the corolla tube together with a ring of white hairs. Pollen white. Style about 4-5 mm long, articulate on the top of the glabrous ovary and shed quite early leaving a slight depression. Stigma green, large and capitate, much wider than the style.


Fruit enclosed in the inflated, 10-angled, persistent calyx. Calyx about 23-40 mm long. Berry globular, about 8-14 mm diam. Seeds disc-shaped to reniform, about 1-2 mm long. Embryo small, coiled with the cotyledons in the centre of the coil. Cotyledons no wider than the radicle.


Cotyledons ovate-lanceolate, about 6-9 x 2-6 mm, petiole about 3 mm long. First pair of leaves alternate, +/- orbicular, margins smooth. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade +/- in pairs but not opposite one another, margin toothed and petiole long. Stems, leaves and terminal buds +/- glabrous. Seed germination time 11 to 32 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards as far as coastal central New South Wales. Treated as introduced and naturalised in all jursidictions except the NT. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from near sea level to 800 m. Grows as a weed of agricultural land, but also found in open forest, monsoon forest, vine thickets and rain forest margins. Also occurs in Malesia, Asia, Africa and tropical America.


Natural History & Notes

Berries used as food by Aborigines in Northern Territory and northern Queensland. Purdie et al. (1982).

Physalis parviflora R.Br., Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae : 447(1810), Type: Northern Australia, R. Brown; holo: BM?.
RFK Code
Copyright © CSIRO 2020, all rights reserved.