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 

Where are Our Growers?

Physalis Recipes

2019 Citizen Scientist Project



Meet the Project Team

Pictured: Nathan Reem, Kerry Swartwood,Esperanza Shenstone, Brandon Williams, Joyce Van Eck

Award-Winning Groundcherry Chili

Award-Winning Chili Every year the Boyce Thompson Institute hosts a Chili Cook Off with awards for "Best Overall Chili", "Best Meat Chili", and "Best Vegetarian Chili". Although there were many strong contenders this year, the award for "Best Meat Chili", went to...

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2019 Physalis Improvement Project

Welcome to the 2019 Physalis Improvement Project We are excited to announce that the second year of The Physalis Improvement Project is underway. With that said, we would like to welcome all new followers and project participants, as well as thank those who continue...

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2018 Project

2018 Physalis Improvement Project As the first year of the Physalis Improvement Project comes to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to share a little about the citizen science project and some of the results. Background In the first iteration of the...

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