English: wild Cape gooseberry, pygmy groundcherry, Native gooseberry.
Malayalam: Njottanjodiyan ഞൊട്ടാഞൊടിയൻ, Njodinjotta-ഞൊടിഞ്ചൊട്ട, Muttambuly-മുട്ടമ്പുളി.
Wild Cape gooseberry (Physalis minima Linn.)
Physalis minima Linn., commonly known as the “pygmy ground cherry” or “ground cherry,” is a small herbaceous plant belonging to the Solanaceae family. It is native to tropical regions of the Americas, including Central and South America. This plant is known for its small, round, and green fruit enclosed in a papery husk or calyx, which resembles a lantern.
1. Plant Description: Physalis minima is a low-growing plant, typically reaching a height of about 15-30 cm (6-12 inches). It has branching stems with simple, oval to lance-shaped leaves that are green and slightly hairy.
2. Flowers: The plant produces small, yellow flowers with five petals that are characteristic of the Solanaceae family.
3. Fruit: The fruit of Physalis minima is the most distinctive feature. It is a small, round berry, usually about the size of a marble (around 1 cm in diameter). The fruit is initially green but turns yellow or orange as it ripens. It is enclosed in a papery husk or calyx, which gives it a lantern-like appearance. The fruit is edible and has a sweet-tart flavor. It can be eaten fresh or used in various culinary applications.
4. Culinary Uses: In some regions where it is found, Physalis minima fruit is used in traditional dishes, desserts, or preserves. It can be eaten raw, added to salads, used in jams, or even made into pies.
5. Medicinal Uses: In traditional medicine, some indigenous communities have used parts of the Physalis minima plant for various purposes. For example, different parts of the plant have been used to treat conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and fever. However, it’s essential to note that the effectiveness and safety of these traditional uses have not been scientifically proven, so caution is advised.
6. Cultural Significance: The fruit’s unique appearance and its use in traditional dishes have made Physalis minima a culturally significant plant in some regions.
It’s worth noting that Physalis minima is related to other plants in the Physalis genus, including the better-known Physalis peruviana, which is often called the “Cape gooseberry” or “ground cherry” and is cultivated for its fruit on a larger scale. While both plants produce similar-looking fruits in papery husks, they may have some differences in taste and culinary uses.
Useful plant parts:
Anti-inflammatory and analgesic, to treat sexual weakness, cough.
Copy rights 2013-2023 Medicinal Plants India : All rights reserved.