Plant A: the volunteer. It has generated two fruits and Paula wants to eat them. I want to know what this plant is first. Help me not let Paula get sick.
Close up of plant A leaf.
Close up of Plant A young flower. A more mature flower a few months ago (see below) has more brown/purple on petals but not I think on the anthers?
The north central Texas flora keys out to two main groups by hair type. These, on Plant A, appear to be simple, and possibly retrorse (curving down). No hair joints eliminates P. heterophylla.
Plant A: the leaf and the two fruits. The fruit calyxes are five angled.
I zoomed in on a picture of the previous flower, same plant A. I believe the anthers are yellow. I would like help with that, as it’s been a while since I’ve tried to confirm anthers. Yellow anthers and simple hairs get it to P. longifolia or P. virginiana in the NC TX Flora. The leaves for both species are are ovate to lanceolate, which seems inconsistent with Plant A. Longifolia also is said to often have purple stems. This one has stripes but not fully purple. The NC TX Flora says these two are possibly toxic. The new Foraging Texas book says all the Physalis are fine. Other sources claim virginiana’s fine or may need a frost. One of the sources is this book about Physalis and relatives so I may get it via interlibrary loan.
This is the underside of Plant B. Plant B should be a cultivar of Physalis pruinosa based on its location and what I have planted there. It has similar simple, possibly retrorse hairs. Plant B is not flowering yet this year. I had a really hard time finding flower pictures for P. pruinosa, as most people sort of reasonably are interested in the fruit. It does appear to have yellow anthers.
Plant C. This is from a probably perennial wild Physalis (I have never planted any Physalis that made it to fruiting in the backyard). Its hairs are distinctly stellate. None of the individuals in the cluster of 2-4 Plant C individuals were flowering, but the hairs seem to narrow it to P. cinerascens or P. mollis. I think P. cinerascens seems more likely on leaf shape, but both are edible and neither have simple leaf hairs.
Plant C leaf (left) and plants A (upper right leaf, bigger) and B (lower right leaf, smaller – it’s from a younger plant), and plant A fruits.
So, am I missing anything obvious here? Is this identifiable? Have any of you consumed P. longifolia or P. virginiana and lived?
Update: Mom showed me a few other keys and they get it to P. virginiana too. None of the keys contain P. pruinosa. P. virginiana is also a perennial while P. pruinosa is an annual, so maybe next year will also provide a clue.
Last year we grew a lot of loofah (luffa? I’ve seen both spellings) gourds and processed them (removing the outer skin from dried gourds) here in the front garden. Obviously a few seeds escaped!
We have almost two pounds of seeds if anyone wants to grow their own…