Who got a physalis - is happy. Its fruits are consumed both fresh and in the form of caviar, jelly, marinades, jam and marmalade. It is especially delicious dried and dried. What kind of plant is this, and where does it come from?
In the wild, physalis is found in Central and South America, where it propagates self-seeding like a weed. The local population "tamed" him here a long time ago, introduced him to the culture. In Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, physalis is very popular: a large number of crop varieties adapted for cultivation on the plains and in the mountains have been bred. It was from here that the physalis, or, as it is also called, Mexican tomato, was brought to North America, and in the 17th century to Europe and Asia. Physalis penetrated into Russia almost simultaneously with tomatoes, but was not widely used. So it was until recently.
Interest in physalis increased in our country in the 20-30s. In 1926, a prominent breeder S.M. Bukasov, during a trip to Mexico and Guatemala, gathered a large collection of nightshade, including physalis. At all experimental stations, VIR began to study physalis as a vegetable crop. It was found that Mexican tomato can be grown everywhere, but especially successfully in Ukraine and the Far East. And physalis stepped on the plantation. Already in 1934, its area reached 5,000 ha, of which 3,000 ha in the Far East. Somewhat later, the first Soviet varieties were developed for the confectionery industry, and especially for the production of citric acid. Then the interest in the new product was dying out, crops were reduced, and now physalis is grown mainly in personal plots. And that is not everywhere.
Physalis is a botanical relative of potato, tomato, pepper, and eggplant. There are three groups of physalis - food (vegetable), decorative and medicinal.
Of course, for gardeners, vegetable physalis are of most interest, especially Mexican, Strawberry, Peruvian and some others. But first, a few words about decorative ones. We have them represented by the following species - Alkekengi, flexuose, franchetia and longifolia. Alkekengs are better known as Chinese lanterns. The cups are yellow, orange or red. Their decorativeness is maintained throughout the year. Al-kekengs are easily propagated by seed and division of the bush. Pretty in solitary landings of longifolia. Its height is 2 m, the bush branches strongly, the stems are erect, thick, large flowers with a blue corolla. Calyx (lanterns) walnut color with very overgrown ribs. The flowers have an interesting biological feature: they open at 12 o’clock and close at 16.
Medicinal and vegetable physalis possess diuretic, choleretic, hemostatic and analgesic properties. Especially widely used in folk medicine of the countries of Central and South America. In addition, alkenkengs, pretermis and franchetia give organic dyes.
In our country, vegetable physalis is represented by annual varieties. According to biological characteristics, food physalis are divided according to place of origin into South American and Mexican.
South American forms have small, sweet and fragrant berries. The plants are self-pollinating, with densely pubescent stems and leaves. In our country, this form is represented by varieties of strawberry and Peruvian physalis.
Strawberry physalis got its name for a pleasant smell, for the strong pubescence of all parts of the plant it is also called pubescent. People have the reputation of earthen cranberries and raisins. Strawberry physalis is an annual, its stem is highly branched, up to 50–70 cm long. The shape of the bush is almost creeping. The leaves are oval, slightly corrugated. This physalis propagates by seed, sowing in the ground. This is in the southern regions, and in the more northern it is cultivated through seedlings. After all, strawberry physalis is very demanding on heat, the seeds begin to germinate at a temperature of at least 15 degrees. In addition, this type of physalis is short-day, that is, plants develop well only with a short southern day. In the conditions of a long northern day, the growing season stretches. And only the race, which provides a seedling method, allows you to get ripe berries here. They are small strawberry physalis yellow. In the conditions of Western Kazakhstan (the Aral Experimental Station VIR), the yield from the bush at irrigation reached up to 1.5 kg (300-600 or more berries). The most interesting varieties are Strawberry and Raisin. The berries of strawberry physalis are sweet, vitamin, fresh children love them very much. You can make jam and raisins from them. Before use, they do not require blanching, because they do not have an adhesive substance on the fruit, unlike the Mexican and Peruvian.
Peruvian physalis also fell in love with our gardeners. He comes from Peru, where it is cultivated as a berry crop. He appeared in Russia at the beginning of the XIX century. It has not yet received wide distribution, which is associated with its biology. This plant is very demanding on heat. Even in southern and subtropical regions, it is propagated by seedlings. Seeds germinate at a temperature of 20 degrees. Plants are demanding of moisture and soil. The leaves of the Peruvian physalis are large, the flowers are small, pale yellow with a dark brown spot at the base. The berries are small, enclosed in an overgrown walnut cover. It tastes sweet and sour with a pineapple smell. There are forms with a slight orange smell. The growing season is long. Berries begin to ripen only in the second half of September. Late ripeness negatively affects the crop. It is interesting that under subtropical conditions this physalis is not threatened with freezing in winter, and in the second year of life flowering begins early in May, and the fruits ripen in mid-summer.
More widespread Mexican physalis. Several of its varieties are known - branched, outstretched, spreading and tilted. By its biological characteristics, the Mexican physalis is close to tomatoes, but compared with them it is more cold-resistant, drought-resistant, less photophilous. It grows on all soils, except for strongly acidic, saline and waterlogged. High drought tolerance is due to a powerful root system. As a shade-tolerant plant, this physalis is well-behaved; feels in the aisles of other cultures. The increased cold resistance allows the Mexican physalis to move far north. He is ill with the same diseases as tomatoes - late blight, a black leg, and of the pests he is affected by wireworm and winter scoop.
The shape of the bush is erect, half-rammed and half-spread. Significant differences are also observed in height: stunted bushes reach only 30-50 cm, tall bushes reach 120-125 cm. Especially large differences between varieties are observed in the color of tops: it can be dark green, green, yellowish, and violet. The fruit mass reaches 50-60 g. On the bush, there are from 50 to 500. The early Moscow, Gruntovy mushroom, Confectionery and Local yellow-flowered varieties cultivated in the Amur Region are distinguished by productivity.
A variety of forms, types and varieties of physalis allows amateur vegetable growers to select what suits them best in specific conditions.