Clammy Ground-cherry

Clammy Ground-cherry
Clammy Ground-cherry. Physalis heterophylla.
Solanaceae, the nightshade family.

Plant: Clambering, sticky-hairy plant, to 3' long, with bell-shaped, dark-centered, dull yellow flowers. Perennial.
Flowers: Dull yellow, with purplish-brown center, 3/4", funnel- or bell-shaped with five lobes, five pointed sepals, and five short stamens. Flowers solitary in leaf axils.
Leaves: Alternate, ovate to heart-shaped, 1"-4". Petioled with a few teeth and a wavy, undulating margin. Stalks and veins very hairy, the leaf surfaces somewhat less so.
Fruit: A yellow berry enclosed by a papery husk about 1" long.
Blooming: June-September
Habitat: Clearings, Open woods, thickets, waste areas.

Comments: There are several native species of ground-cherry, all with dark-centered yellow flowers. This one is the hairiest. The plant is in the tomato family; the tomatillo (Mexican husk tomato) is a member of the same genus (P. philadelphica). The ripe berry is edible; the foliage and green fruit poisonous.

Where to find it: Not common in the park. I have seen it only in a weedy patch by the pond about 100 yards down the west trail from the lodge.