Also called “ground cherry,” this fruit has a bitter-sweet, juicy flesh. This fruit is eaten out of hand and used with meats, pies, jams, and savory foods. It is noted for its lantern-shape covering, reminiscent of Asian hanging lamps. The covering is papery, often disintegrating around the berry, leaving a filigree-like net.
Physalis peruviana, a plant species of the genus Physalis in the nightshade family Solanaceae, has its origin in Peru. The plant and its fruit are commonly called Cape gooseberry, goldenberry, and physalis, among numerous regional names. The history of Physalis cultivation in South America can be traced to the Inca. It has been cultivated in England since the late 18th century, and in South Africa in the Cape of Good Hope since at least the start of the 19th century. Widely introduced in the 20th century, P. peruviana is cultivated or grows wild across the world in temperate and tropical regions.
P. peruviana is an economically useful crop as an exotic exported fruit and favored in breeding and cultivation programs in many countries.
P. peruviana is closely related to the tomatillo and the Chinese lantern, also members of the genus Physalis. As a member of the plant family Solanaceae, it is more distantly related to a large number of edible plants, including tomato, eggplant, potato, and other members of the nightshades. Despite its name, it is not botanically related to other gooseberries.