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Physalis breeding

 
Posts: 58
Location: Quebec
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Hi there !

There are quite a few physalis species: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis, some of these are annuals and some are perenial, some are frost tolerant, some are asian, some seem to be poisonous..

These are annual:
   Physalis pruinosa L. – strawberry groundcherry
   Physalis pubescens L. – golden strawberry, Chinese lantern
   Physalis acutifolia, sharpleaf groundcherry and Wright's ground-cherry
   Physalis angulata, angular winter cherry, balloon cherry, cutleaf groundcherry, gooseberry, hogweed, wild tomato, camapu

These are perenial, but frost tender:
   Physalis peruviana L. – Cape gooseberry, Peruvian groundcherry, Inca berry, uchuva (Colombia), poha
   Physalis philadelphica Lam. (syn. P. ixocarpa) – tomatillo, Mexican groundcherry, jamberry, Mexican tomato, tomate de cáscara, tomate de fresadilla, tomate milpero, tomate verde
   Physalis hederifolia, ivyleaf groundcherry
   Physalis crassifolia, yellow nightshade groundcherry and thick-leaf ground-cherry
   Physalis caudella, the southwestern groundcherry or tomatillo chiquito
   Physalis minima, Native gooseberry, wild cape gooseberry and pygmy groundcherry
   Physalis viscosa, starhair groundcherry, stellate ground-cherry, grape groundcherry, arrebenta-cavalo, balãozinho, and camambú

Perenial and frost hardy to varying degrees:
   Physalis alkekengi, bladder cherry, Chinese lantern, Japanese-lantern, strawberry groundcherry or winter cherry
   Physalis virginiana, the Virginia groundcherry
   Physalis longifolia, known by the common names common groundcherry, longleaf groundcherry, and wild tomatillo
   Physalis heterophylla, colloquial name clammy groundcherry

Unknown:
   Physalis coztomatl
   Physalis angustifolia, the coastal groundcherry
   Physalis caudella, the southwestern groundcherry or tomatillo chiquito

Longifolia, heterophyllia and virgianiana can apparently be found wild in Quebec. I've yet to see any, but iNaturalist has observations of heterophyllia in Montréal and Longifolia / Virgianiana / Heterophylla in southern ontario. Besides for alkekengi, I havent seen any mentions that these varieties are poisonous once ripe (and I've seen reports of alkekengi being edible as well).

I'd like to gather whatever research papers about breeding physalis (for instance there are reports that virginiana and heterophylla can cross) and also sources for physalis seeds, ideally in or shipping to canada (other than philadelphica, peruviana and pruinosa, which are quite common).

My main goal would be a more productive and frost hardy perenial ground cherry, but I'm mainly having trouble sourcing varieties. For now I've bought the two pruinosa varieties from the experimental farm network (maries niagara and new hanover.)
 
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I love this Patrick!  I have a bunch of hopes on this, but no real efforts yet.  For example, although it may be a difficult cross, I'd love to see the size from tomatillos combined with hardy perennial traits.  Also the purple color would be great.  The orange/red of chinese lanterns added in too would be great to help with the rainbow....yellows, oranges, reds, purples....how great would that be?  I also fantasize about a red one that could pass as a perennial hardy tomato as I'd love to have good hardy perennial analogs for the common garden vegetables.  Would be great to not need any annuals.  I have some perennial ground cherries, but I'm not certain of the species yet.
 
Patrick Marchand
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Greg Martin:
>  I have some perennial ground cherries, but I'm not certain of the species yet.

Here are links that could help you identify it:
https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/long-leaf-ground-cherry
https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/clammy-ground-cherry
https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info/flower/virginia-ground-cherry


According to wikipedia:
> For P. heterophylla, the stems and leaves are glandularly pubescent, giving it the "clammy" feel from which its name is derived.
So if it's hairy, then I guess it's heterophylla.

This is my first breeding project and seeing as I havent found yet which species are cross-compatible. I've no idea how far I can take this but hey, that's half the fun.
 
Greg Martin
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Thank you Patrick.  I'll take a much closer look in the light tomorrow.
 
Patrick Marchand
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I think I've found some pretty good suppliers for physalis in canada:

* Salt spring seeds: https://www.saltspringseeds.com/collections/tomatillo-seeds-physalis-ixocarpa
They have pruinosa, philadelphica, pubescens and peruviana.

* Solana seeds: http://solanaseeds.netfirms.com/othervegetables.html
They have a lot of cool stuff! Purple, yellow and green philadelphica, alkekengi,  coztomatl, peruviana, pruinosa,

* Experimental farm network: https://store.experimentalfarmnetwork.org/search?q=physalis
US store, but they have a lot of interesting seeds that I wanted for other projects, they have yellow and green philadelphica and two pruinosa varieties (I bought the two pruinosa)

I had no luck finding the three cold hardy perenials I wanted, the only suppliers I could find are either closed or not shipping to canada.

* Unusual Edibles and their wild relatives: https://unusualediblesandtheirwildrelatives.blogspot.com/2017/11/frost-hardy-edible-groundcherries.html
This is a super interesting blog on a bunch of edible wild species, he also sells his seeds on ebay, but does not ship to canada as he's in poland.

* Amishland seeds: https://www.amishlandseeds.com/store/AMMON-MARTINS-GROUND-CHERRY-p107743718
They say their Ammon Martins ground cherry is heterophylla Nees, but do not mention it's perenial nature and are unfortunately no longer selling seeds.

I think my best chance will be to either look for them in the wilds or hope for a trade.

 
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i’m interested in this, and have tried many various crossings between a number of physalis species...so far, never with any offspring that didn’t seem exactly like their mothers. for the past 5 years my project’s been on hold because my place has been plagued by some slightly fuzzy black worm that find and burrow into any fruit and eat the seeds before they’re ripe. i do have a single specimen of (probably) heterophylla in a pot on a table that i should be able to get seed from this season (and a bunch more in the ground that never give me ripe fruit anymore), and i know where a bunch of (probably) longifolia are that reliably have a ripe crop hanging on them after a couple frosts have killed the plants...

i would love a bigger more productive heterophylla-type (if that truly is what the local hairy species is) fruit. the ripe heterophylla fruit i’ve had, had by far the best physalis flavor to my taste, super complex and tropical-esque, with fruit bigger than any pruinosa i’ve seen, green with a purple blush. really nice fruit that would be awesome en masse.
 
Patrick Marchand
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greg mosser:
> has been plagued by some slightly fuzzy black worm that find and burrow into any fruit and eat the seeds before they’re ripe
Sounds harsh ! What kind of climate do you have ? I'd be planting these at my parents place. It's  in zone 4 in the middle of a forest, my mom rarely has pest problems as they tend to have plenty of predators or other food. (and the frost kills quite a few things as well), so I'm thinking we wont have too many problems.

> the ripe heterophylla fruit i’ve had, had by far the best physalis flavor to my taste, super complex and tropical-esque, with fruit bigger than any pruinosa i’ve seen
I've had a few boxes of pruinosa this summer and they were quite tasty, so that sound great! I have no idea how hard it is to send seeds over the border these days, but if we could make it work I'd love to have some.
 
Patrick Marchand
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Posting links to various research or information pages, I've yet to read most of them:

  • Physalis and physaloids: A recent and complex evolutionary history: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1055790316300343
  • Reproductive biology of Physalis angulata L.: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304423820301357
  • Deciphering the Physalis floridana Double-Layered-Lantern1 Mutant: http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/164/2/748
  • Peruviana factsheet: https://cdn.sare.org/wp-content/uploads/20180422093516/Goldenberry-Fact-Sheet-042120181.pdf
  • The Cytotaxonomy and Genetics of Physalis: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3143331
  • Physalis species in Kentucky: https://www.nku.edu/~herbarium/Taxonomy/Solanaceae/Physalis/Physalis.shtml
  • The Ethnobotany and Ethnopharmacology of Wild Tomatillos, Physalis longifolia Nutt., and Related Physalis Species: http://nativeplants.ku.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Physalis-Ethnobotany-paper.pdf
  • Hybridization in Four Nigerian Physalis (Linn.) Species: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326073898_Hybridization_in_Four_Nigerian_Physalis_Linn_Species
  • Intergeneric and interspecific cross-pollination studies of Capsicum lycopersicum, Physalis and Solanum: https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/pr76f763q?locale=en
  • Untangling Physalis (Solanaceae) from the Physaloids: A Two-Gene Phylogeny of the Physalinae: https://bioone.org/journals/systematic-botany/volume-30/issue-1/0363644053661841/Untangling-Physalis-Solanaceae-from-the-Physaloids--A-Two-Gene/10.1600/0363644053661841.short
  • Natural Hybridization and Extinction of a Population of Physalis virginiana: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2441596
  • Interspecific Physalis Hybrids (forum thread): https://alanbishop.proboards.com/thread/7998/interspecific-physalis-hybrids
  • Complete chloroplast genomes of four Physalis species: https://bmcplantbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12870-020-02429-w
  • Tomatillo: A Potential Vegetable Crop for Louisiana: https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1990/V1-407.html#FUTURE%20PROSPECTS
  • Genetic diversity and population structure in Physalis peruviana and related taxa: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352407315000232
  • Development of tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa Brot.) autotetraploids: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/199181961.pdf
  • Karyotype analysis of Physalis pubescens chromosome: https://europepmc.org/article/MED/15307679
  • Chromosome numbers in Physalis and solanum: https://archive.org/details/biostor-159049/mode/2up


  • Some of these are behind a jstor paywall, I havent looked if they're available somewhere else.
     
    Posts: 114
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    I have actually been looking into Physalis breeding quite a bit for next year.
    Floridatrees on Etsy sell Physalis angulata
    SerendipitySeeds on Etsy was selling Physalis minima - which I bought and now have seed for.
    Rareplant on etsy - based in Serbia, sells Physalis acutifolia.
    Tradewindsfruit is packing their seed for a lot of things currently it seems. Search Physalis and the ones returning should say "currently being packed" at the bottom of the description. Believe they ship to Canada, good amount of rare Physalis species.
    Lupinaster on Ebay sells A LOT of different Physalis species along with some Physaliastrum species - which are related. A non-bitter sweet wild form of Physalis alkekengi is also sold. Based in Poland so there is the whole customs thing... - I believe he ships anywhere - but he probably won't refund if customs seizes the items.
    Bakercreek sells a few Physalis varieties / species. Queen Of Malinalco seems interesting. They also sell a larger fruited ornamental Physalis alkekengi - could be worth crossing with the one from Lupinaster.
    I have a wild sweet purple fruited Physalis with bunch of rhizomes that return every year as well after being chopped to death. Posted some images of it on here before.
    Also Solana seeds is a good source as someone else mentioned, Amishland seeds is pretty much done for - go the main page. Amishland had some unique seeds, I regret not buying from them when I had the chance...

    Chromosome count seems to be a factor, you might need to double chromosomes to breed with certain species. Not easy to do, afterwards might be able to cross it with species that have higher counts. I recommend just growing them right next to each other and maybe trying some intentional crosses as well. Bees might do the work for you. Maybe try putting some self incompatible species isolated from same species. Most of these can reseed themselves anywhere - some of the desert types might need help escaping weeds and things like that. I set up an area as a test for Jaltomata species, Lycium species, Litchi tomato and Physalis species - in a box type - made a plus sign with rocks so there are 4 zoned off sections of areas that way they aren't spreading into each other. Maybe put rocks under and on top of surrounding soil for the perennial cold hardy types, have annual types on the outside of the rocks - which is what I'm doing, already have rocks set up and moved rhizomes there weeks ago - the frosts haven't harmed them so seems like they have enough roots down to survive the winter in their new home. The perennials are very vigorous, the rhizomes also tend to regrow into clones when chopped, I can't recommend growing them in a typical garden space as they do form colonies.
     
    Patrick Marchand
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    For reference, I currently have managed to acquire seeds for the following varieties:

    P. Alkekengi
    P. Pendula
    P. Virginiana
    P. Longifolia v. subglabrata
    P. Grisea
    P. Campanula

    Over the winter I'd like to grow at least one or two plants of each variety for documentation. I might also try crosses. When summer comes back, I should be planting quite a few seeds, especially if I can manage to rent some land in the laurentians.

     
    Garrett Schantz
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    Nice, I don't have the subglabrata subspecies of longifolia. Campanula and Grisea are pretty hard to find. A lot of species need cross pollination, so hand pollination might be needed indoors if you are looking to get seeds to grow out next year.

    I have seeds for the following species:

    P. Philadelphica - Queen Of Malinalco - Purple Tomatillo
    P. alkekengi - Chinese Lantern Gigantea
    P. longifolia
    P. integrifolia
    P. angulata
    P. acutifolia
    P. mininma
    P. peruviana - Ayacucho Giant Cape Gooseberry

    I am ordering some P. pruinosa types from Bakercreek when they come in stock.

     
    Patrick Marchand
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    The queen of malinalco has a very interesting shape, but I no longer see it on the baker creek seed list, but it seems like trade winds fruit still has some, so I might order from them.
     
    Posts: 9
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    I think we have some Physalis heterophylla growing in our garden. We plant an annual variety, not sure which one, but a perennial type also showed up. It has sticky fruit that get a little larger than our other variety. I'm pretty sure I've seen some ripen to a dark orange color. I prefer the taste of the annual fresh, but the perennial could maybe be used for jams or something. It spreads with rhizomes and comes up again and again after pulling.. ..but we haven't been too aggressively trying to control it.

    We have a few of the perennial ones fruit that were harvested with the others that are still mostly green. I'm not sure if the seeds are viable, or if they could've crossed with our other variety. I could probably send some seeds your way if you'd like. We should also have plenty of plants to dig up in the spring once the snow melts..
     
    Patrick Marchand
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    Hi J brun, I'll send you a purple moosage about that, but I'd be happy to get some seed !
     
    Patrick Marchand
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    Thanks to j brun I now have seeds for what I believe to be P. Pruinosa and P. Heterophylla.

    I've also ordered the Denver perennial ground cherry from the Experimental Farm Network, they think it's P. Virginiana.
     
    Garrett Schantz
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    The Denver perennial ground cherry is a cold hardy perennial, so that narrows it down a bit. P. Virginiana - Longifolia - Hybrids, all can easily be confused.
     
    Patrick Marchand
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    Just got some new varieties from solana seeds:

    Another supposedly edible Physalis Alkekengi
    Physalis Philadelphica - Queen of Malinalco (this one has a beautiful pointed shape) and Deep Purple (and they are not kidding about the deep purple)
    Some more Physalis Pruinosa, Pineapple and Golden husk (this one is from jardins de l'ecoumènes)
    Physalis peruviana, Goldenberry
    Physalis Minima
    Physalis Coztomatl

    I also received two physalis hispida accessions from the USDA.
     
    Garrett Schantz
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    I have a few more varieties now as well.

    Purple De Milpa Tomatillo Physalis philadelphica
    Mary's Niagara Ground Cherry Physalis sp.
    New Hanover Ground Cherry Physalis pruinosa


    Mary's Niagara is apparently earlier than other popular ground cherries - its from Ontario. Suppose its also lower growing than other types as well.
    New Hanover seems to be larger and sweeter than other ground cherries. Figured I would get them both to try out. If they happen to be the same species, I can try making some hybrids.

    Physalis Minima seems like a fun one - its from the marshes of Java, and has black seeds (mine does at least).

    Purple De Milpa Tomatillo is just something that I bought to add more diversity to my tomatillos.
     
    Patrick Marchand
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    Here are a few pictures of my seedlings
    IMG_20210408_220936.jpg
    P. Philadelphica / Ixocarpa var Queen of Malinalco
    P. Philadelphica / Ixocarpa var Queen of Malinalco
    IMG_20210408_221014.jpg
    P. Philadelphica / Ixocarpa var Deep Purple
    P. Philadelphica / Ixocarpa var Deep Purple
    IMG_20210408_221057.jpg
    P. Philadelphica / Ixocarpa var Toma Verde x Purple
    P. Philadelphica / Ixocarpa var Toma Verde x Purple
    IMG_20210408_223718.jpg
    [Thumbnail for IMG_20210408_223718.jpg]
    P. Hispida accession W653097
    IMG_20210408_224106.jpg
    P. Peruviana var Giant Goldenberry
    P. Peruviana var Giant Goldenberry
    IMG_20210408_224141.jpg
    P. Longifolia var Subglabrata
    P. Longifolia var Subglabrata
    IMG_20210408_224409.jpg
    P. Minima
    P. Minima
    IMG_20210408_224451.jpg
    P. Coztomatl
    P. Coztomatl
    IMG_20210408_224533.jpg
    P. Virgininia EFN Denver Perennial Ground Cherry
    P. Virginiana EFN Denver Perennial Ground Cherry
     
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    There are some growing along the mountain roads here. So they would have to survive at least -10°C if not -15° under the cover of dead ferns.
    I will get some seeds the next time I see some.
     
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    I would love to work with breeding a perennial ground cherry to have larger fruit. Is Ebay the best place to get seeds in the US?
     
    Patrick Marchand
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    Check out the experimental farm network, they have a variety of P. Virginiana for sale https://store.experimentalfarmnetwork.org/collections/new-for-2021/products/colorado-perennial-ground-cherry

    Although it does seem to be soldout right now.

    I'm hoping to be able to offer some seeds for sale next year if I get enough plants to fruit, but if the other perenials are like P. Longifolia, it may take two years to see the first fruit.
     
    Garrett Schantz
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    Most of my seedlings didn't come up before - probably too cold for them.

    I have some potential weeds growing in some of the cells now - after around 3 months... I let them sit outside when I started moving my tomatoes out.

    All of my tomatillos came up - at least one seedling of each type.

    At least one of : Physalis acutifolia, Mary's Niagara Groundcherry, Longifolia, Integrefolia

    I have some other plants near these outside, if the weed seedlings aren't in any pepper cells or other things - they are probably more Physalis species. Unsure of how well these will do coming up this late. Most Physalis species are pretty hardy and cold tolerant to some degree. The only issue will be flowering times.

    Perennial Physalis also came back this year. I moved some seedlings that I found in a sidewalk, unsure if they will survive to where I moved them but the cracks needed weeded.
     
    Patrick Marchand
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    So unfortunately, most of the plants got mixed up during a move and there are many I can no longer identify. I'll be posting them on INaturalist in the hope of getting an identification, but I think I'll have to try again next year. I might try to grow less varieties but in bigger quantities.

    Probably angulata: https://inaturalist.ca/observations/89217232
    Heterophylla or Peruviana: https://inaturalist.ca/observations/89216808
    Longifolia, Hispida or Virginiana: https://inaturalist.ca/observations/89216371
    P. Virginiana or P. Heterophylla: https://inaturalist.ca/observations/89215642
    Probably angulata: https://inaturalist.ca/observations/89215019

    Any help identify them would be greatly appreciated.
     
    Garrett Schantz
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    One of my family members weed eated the Perennial Physalis species again this year! Along with the milkweed which had around 7 monarch caterpillars...

    So, can't share any seed this year again as I do not have any.
     
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    Harvesting some Physalis longifolia var. subglabrata soon.  Does anyone want to trade?  Looking for other longifolia seeds, heterophylla, virginiana, hederaefolia, crassifolia.  Especially seeking taller plants (some longifolia get up to 3 ft.) or larger berries, and clumping kinds.  There was some P. walteri on eBay recently.
     
    Chance Selva
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    Patrick Marchand wrote:So unfortunately, most of the plants got mixed up during a move and there are many I can no longer identify. I'll be posting them on INaturalist in the hope of getting an identification, but I think I'll have to try again next year. I might try to grow less varieties but in bigger quantities.

    Probably angulata: https://inaturalist.ca/observations/89217232
    Heterophylla or Peruviana: https://inaturalist.ca/observations/89216808
    Longifolia, Hispida or Virginiana: https://inaturalist.ca/observations/89216371
    P. Virginiana or P. Heterophylla: https://inaturalist.ca/observations/89215642
    Probably angulata: https://inaturalist.ca/observations/89215019

    Any help identify them would be greatly appreciated.



    Patrick, that longifolia you have is var. longifolia.  I have var. subglabrata, which has more angled leaves and purple anthers instead of yellow ones.
     
    Garrett Schantz
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    Location: PA, zone 6a
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    Still have seed for Mary's Niagara, and Denver Perennial Ground Cherry. I will be planting a few in a prepared area - cold stratification could improve germination.


    Found a single calyx on the chopped Physalis species here - moved the leaves, chopped calyxes - fruit and other such things into a better spot. If anything come up from the unripe seeds, they probably won't be disturbed.

    Probably won't be sharing seed from the single fruit quite yet as I want to obtain seed for myself. I will probably attempt some cuttings as I bought rooting hormone since the plants are regrowing.
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    Patrick Marchand
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    Location: Quebec
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    I looked at more pictures of longifolia and yeah, theres no chance it could be anything else. I'm surprised to see it fruiting in its first year, but I did start them in march. I'm pretty certain I've identified another plant as Angulata (the one with purplish ribs on the top of the calyx). The top of the fruit also gets a bit purple.
     
    Chance Selva
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    Garrett, nice size husk on that one, wonder about the berries.  

    Patrick,  the tall longifolia I’m very interested in, let me know if you produce excess seed.

    I looked through the Untangling Physalis document that was mentioned above.  It talks about some of the crossing done.  Here is an image of the tree.  Most of the crosses documented are within the D clade, these are North American species.  Peruviana is in the C clade, with some North American species, longifolia being the hardiest in C.  The D clade sections can do some intercrossing because they’re closely related.  I picked up some P. walteri seed, which looks to have a great berry size for a wild species.  This could be crossed into virginiana or heterophylla to increase cold hardiness.

    The other way to go about it which is more enticing is to use the longifolia to cross with peruviana, which is the best bet since they are both in the same clade and subgenus. Crossing across clades  tends to result in nil seed.  The way to proceed it seems to me is start breeding the tall longifolia types, perhaps hybridizing first with a related species like hedaraefolia, but either way start selecting for habit and berry characters, like clumping instead of running.  Then convert the longifolia selection to 4n before crossing it to peruviana.  
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    Chance Selva
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    Here’s a photo so P. walteri from Florida.  This would be great to cross into a heterophylla or virginiana type.  This species is hardy to zone 7 or 8 depending on the source.  The seed I got are from Florida so maybe only 8, the cross should work though and be able to combine better hardiness with bigger berries.
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    Patrick Marchand
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    Location: Quebec
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    I'll  let you know how the berries go, the tallness might be epigenetic though, as it was growing right next to a very space hoggy Peruviana and that was the only way it could get any sun. But hey maybe the bees will have voluntereed a cross.
     
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