Herb: Wild Tomatillo

Latin name: Physalis philadelphica

Synonyms: Physalis aequanta

Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family, Potato Family)

Medicinal use of Wild Tomatillo:

The juice from the berries has been used as an eyewash.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in a truly wild situation, it is found as a weed of cultivation.

Edible parts of Wild Tomatillo:

Fruit - raw or cooked. A delicious flavouring when used like a tomato and added to soups, stews etc. The plant conveniently wraps up each fruit in its own "paper bag" (botanically, the calyx) to protect it from pests and the elements. This calyx is toxic and should not be eaten. The fruit can be stored for up to a year if picked before they are fully ripe and left inside their calyx.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow March/April in a greenhouse only just covering the seed. Germination usually takes place quickly and freely. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of fairly rich soil when they are large enough to handle and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Consider giving them some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away well. Diurnal temperature fluctuations assist germination.

Cultivation of Wild Tomatillo:

Not known in a truly wild situation, it is found as a weed of cultivation.

Known hazards of Physalis philadelphica:

All parts of the plant, except the fruit, are poisonous.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.