Apple of Peru, Nicandra physaloides

27th November 2006, Monday

Apple of Peru, Nicandra physaloides

I have come across the very distinctive apple of Peru or shoo-fly plant, Nicandra physaloides, several times this year, though it is not a plant I have seen in the wild before. My latest sighting was of several plants still in flower in a private garden in Baldslow on the outskirts of Hastings and I have also seen it in Balcombe Green, Sedlescombe.

It is an alien species from, as the name suggests, South America and poisonous to boot. As the shape of the fruit suggests, it is related to the Physalis fruit, or Cape gooseberry sometimes sold in supermarkets.

I wonder if anyone else has seen it locally this year and if it is going to become a familiar plant.