Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Clammy Ground-cherry - Physalis heterophylla   Nees
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Section 6 » Order Solanales » Family Solanaceae
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DistributionFound over most of the mountains and Piedmont; also ranges eastward into the upper Coastal Plain, sparingly into the central and coastal parts -- at least in the southern half of the Coastal Plain. Absent over most of the eastern Coastal Plain, with a disjunct record for coastal Dare County.

This is a widespread and, thankfully, well-known Physalis, ranging from eastern Canada south to northern FL and most of TX and to AZ.
AbundanceFairly common to frequent in most of the Piedmont, and in the southern mountains. Uncommon in the upper Coastal Plain, including the Sandhills, but very rare farther eastward. Rare in the northern mountains and most of the foothills.
HabitatThis species grows in partial shade of open woods and edges, typically where dry to mesic. It can also be found in clearings, but it is not as weedy as some native species in the genus.
PhenologyBlooms from May to July, and fruits from July to September.
IdentificationThis is a somewhat familiar ground-cherry of the Piedmont and mountains, growing to about 1.5-2' tall, with branching stems. This species has a sticky (viscid) stem, quite hairy; squeeze the stem to detect the stickiness. The leaves are hairy, ovate and about 3" long and 2" wide, usually with only wavy margins or with shallow lobes and not distinct teeth. The leaf base is widely rounded to almost squared. The dangling yellow flowers are fairly large, being at least 1" across. Other species can be very hairy but do not have viscid stems/hairs; the similar P. virginiana has somewhat narrower leaves with cuneate bases, as opposed to broadly rounded at the base, and it does not have a sticky stem.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS3S4 [S4S5]
Global RankG5
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