The Physalis Improvement Project

Welcome to the Physalis Improvement Project!


The genus Physalis is part of the Solanaceae family (also home to the well-known tomato and potato) and is home to the edible species of peruviana, pruinosa, and ixocarpa. These species are commonly known as goldenberry, groundcherry and tomatillo (as well as many other regional names). Groundcherry and goldenberry plants produce small edible fruits that range from sweet to tart with a variety of unique flavors. Tomatillo plants produce small to medium sized fruits and have a mild acidic flavor. This project aims to further explore the cultivation Physalis species by crowdsourcing information from volunteer citizen scientists throughout the United States. The Physalis Improvement Project is led by the Van Eck research group and is made possible through funding from The Triad and National Science Foundations.

Project Goals

  • Gather information from stakeholders involved in the production and consumption of Physalis
  • Use information gathered for crop improvement
  • Heighten the visibility of Physalis as a specialty crop 

Physalis: From the Garden to Table

Check out the slides from our 2019 event below!

Where are Our Growers?

Project Photos

Physalis Recipes

2019 Citizen Scientist Project



Meet the Project Team

Pictured: Nathan Reem, Makenna Raspantini, Joyce Van Eck, Kerry Swartwood, Linnell Randall, Esperanza Shenstone

Physalis Event 2019

Physalis Event 2019

Thank you to all who joined us for our event Physalis: From the Garden to the Table! It was an opportunity for us to thank our participants as well as share a little bit about this year's Physalis Improvement Project, all while enjoying Physalis foods!  Dishes...

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Boyce Thompson Institute
533 Tower Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14853