Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition

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Key to Physalis

1 Flowers 2 or more per leaf axil; berries with spherical seed-like bodies intermixed with the flattened, reniform seeds; [of the Gulf Coastal Plain]
1 Flowers 1 per leaf axil; berries with flattened, reniform seeds only; [collectively widespread].
..2 Berry 20-40 mm in diameter, green or yellow-green when ripe (tomatillo); anthers strongly coiled after dehiscence, blue; corolla throat with bluish tinge; [cultivated and weakly naturalized near gardens]
..2 Berry to 20 mm in diameter, orange, yellow, or green when ripe; anthers not coiled after dehiscence, yellow, blue, or purple; corolla throat purple, brown, green, or ochre; [collectively widespread].
....3 Plants pubescent with 2-3 branched or dendroid-stelliform hairs (in some species with simple hairs as well), these in some taxa abundantly covering the leaves, or if leaves glabrous, the stellate hairs visible on the tips and margins of the sepals; plants perennial, from deeply buried rhizomes; [section Stellatae]
......4 Hairs 2-3 branched
......4 Hairs dendroid-stelliform.
........5 Leaves linear, 10-20× as long as wide, glabrous (except for leaf margins and calyx); plants erect; [of s. FL and FL Panhandle westward to s. LA]
..........6 Leaves sessile, blades linear-lanceolate, 0.2-0.8 (11) cm wide; (s. FL and FL peninsula westward to LA)
..........6 Leaves sessile or short-petiolate, blade narrowly spathulate to linear-lanceolate, 0.3-1.5 (-2) cm wide
........5 Leaves ovate, elliptic, obovate or spatulate (varying in width but not narrowly linear-lanceolate), 2-10× as long as wide, stellate pubescent, especially on the young growth, flowering calyces, and pedicels (or glabrous); [of se. VA south to s. FL, west to s. MS].
............ 7 Undersurfaces of mid-stem and upper leaves densely white tomentose, the vestiture mostly obscuring the surface of the blades
............ 7 Undersurfaces of mid-stem and upper leaves mostly moderately to sparsely pubescent, the vestiture not usually obscuring the surface of the blades.
............ ..8 Anthers < 1× as long as the mature filaments; [s. MS east to s. FL and north to e. VA].
............ ....9 Leaves sparsely to densely dendritic-pubescent; narrowly spathulate to narrowly ovate-lanceolate
............ ....9 Leaves dendritic-pubescent; broadly elliptic to ovate to broadly ovate
............ ..8 Anthers > 1.5× as long as the mature filaments; [native west of the Mississippi River (AR, LA, OK, TX, etc.), and rarely introduced eastwards, as in SC, TN, and AL].
............ ......10 Leaf margins entire; corolla limbs not reflexed when fully open; [coastal dunes and coastal prairies of TX, w. LA, and n. Mexico]
............ ......10 Leaf margins undulate, sinuate, or dentate; corolla limbs reflexed when fully open; [widespread, MO, KS, AR, OK, LA, TX, rarely eastward as introductions in TN, SC, and AL].
............ ........11 Vestiture of stems and leaves only of branched hairs < 1 mm long; fruiting calyx 1-2 cm in diameter
............ ........11 Vestiture of stems and leaves of branched hairs < 1 mm long and glandular hairs 2-4 mm long; fruiting calyx 2.5-3.5 cm in diameter
....3 Plants glabrous, or pubescent with simple hairs only (stellate or branched hairs absent or very rare); plants annual or perennial.
............ ..........12 Leaves glabrous or essentially so.
............ ............ 13 Perennials from rhizomes, frequently with remnant of last year's stem attached to crown; corolla with 5 dark maculations in the throat.
............ ............ ..14 Hairs on the pedicels and young stems retrorse or retrorse-spreading; fruiting calyx 5-angled, indented at base
............ ............ ..14 Hairs on the pedicels and young stems antrorse; fruiting calyx subterete, with 10 ribs, not indented at base
............ ............ ....15 Leaves lanceolate to lance-linear, narrower than the following, many ca. 3.5× as long as wide
............ ............ ....15 Leaves lanceolate to broadly lanceolate to ovate, generally broader than above, about 2.5× as long as wide, or broader.
............ ............ ......16 Principal leaves lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, usually single-stemmed, erect; [widespread in e. US]
............ ............ ......16 Principal leaves ovate; plants usually several-branched from base, stems spreading; [s. TX]
............ ............ 13 Annuals from taproots; corolla with or without 5 dark maculations in the throat.
............ ............ ........17 Upper part of the stem with long, spreading hairs; corolla with 5 dark maculations in the throat; [section Epeteiorhiza].
............ ............ ..........18 Leaf margins strongly dentate with 7-10 (or more) teeth per side; fruiting pedicels 12 mm or more long; mature fruiting calyx 2.5-4 cm (or more) long, the lobes long-acuminate to attenuate; corolla pubescent internally
............ ............ ..........18 Leaf margins entire, or dentate with 1-8 teeth per side; fruiting pedicels < 10 mm long; mature fruiting calyx 2.5 cm or less long, the lobes triangular-acuminate; corolla glabrous internally
............ ............ ........17 Upper part of the stem glabrous or glabrate (when young, sometimes with minute, deflexed hairs in lines); corolla with or without 5 dark maculations in the throat.
............ ............ ............ 19 Corolla 7-15 mm long, yellow and with 5 dark maculations in the throat; anthers 2.5-4 mm long; berry to 40 mm in diameter
............ ............ ............ 19 Corolla 4-10 mm long entirely yellow, without 5 dark maculations in the throat; anthers 1-2.3 mm long; berry 8-11 mm in diameter.
............ ............ ............ ..20 Corollas white to cream, widely flaring and very flat, with greenish-tinged, densely hairy region in 5 spots towards the base of the inner surface; anthers 2.5-3.0 mm long; fruiting pedicels 2.5-6.0 cm long
............ ............ ............ ..20 Corollas yellow, bell-, or saucer-shaped, sometimes suffused with purple within, but lacking densely hairy spots; anthers 1.5-2.5 mm long; fruiting pedicels 1.5-4.0 cm long
............ ..........12 Leaves variously pubescent, the hairs copious and villous to sparse and appressed.
............ ............ ............ ....21 Flowering calyces < 6 mm long; annuals from taproots; [section Epeteiorhiza].
............ ............ ............ ......22 Corolla yellow, unspotted or slightly dark-tinged
............ ............ ............ ......22 Corolla yellow with dark spots.
............ ............ ............ ........23 Stems, young growth, and major veins of the leaves covered with villous pubescence intermixed with sessile glands; leaves gray-green, prominently and coarsely dentate to the base, with well-defined reticulate venation, especially visible on the lower surface, frequently drying orange or with orange spots; anthers yellow, perhaps with a bluish tinge; body of mature calyx about as long as broad, abruptly acuminate at apex; berry tawny orange when mature
............ ............ ............ ........23 Stems, young growth, and major veins of leaves with fine, non-villous pubescence; leaves green, obscurely dentate, often in the upper half only, or entire, without well-defined reticulate venation, drying green or brownish; anthers blue or violet; body of mature calyx longer than broad, long-acuminate at the apex; berry green when mature
............ ............ ............ ....21 Flowering calyces > 6 mm long; perennials from rhizomes.
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Pedicels 4-8(-13) mm in flower, 5-15 mm in fruit; [western, e. TX and west, not in LA]
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Pedicels (8-) 9-17 (-45) mm in flower, 15-30 (-35) mm in fruit.
............ ............ ............ ............ 25 Plants glabrous or villous, hairs antrorse and to 1 mm, sometimes also with hairs 1-2 mm long, often with slender, shallow rhizomes
............ ............ ............ ............ 25 Plants densely villous and/or viscid, hairs divergent and 1-2 mm, often also with shorter hairs; upper leaf surfaces punctate to densely viscid-pubescent; rhizomes stout and deeply buried (but these sometimes not collected).
............ ............ ............ ............ ..26 Pubescence viscid, generally composed of glandular trichomes mixed with fine, short hairs and long, multicellular ones; leaf blades broadly ovate to suborbicular, the base rounded, truncate, or cordate (occasionally widely cuneate).
............ ............ ............ ............ ....27 Longer hairs up to 3 (4) mm. long, mature fruiting calyx 2-4 cm long, seeds 1-2 mm long; upper leaf surfaces glandular-pubescent to densely viscid-pubescent; leaves ovate to broadly ovate to suborbicular, the base rounded, truncate, or cordate (occasionally widely cuneate); [widespread in our region]
............ ............ ............ ............ ....27 Longer hairs mostly 0.2-0.5 mm, some up to 1.5 (2) mm long, mature fruiting calyx 5-7 cm long, seeds 3-4 mm long; upper leaf surfaces punctate to sparsely glandular-pubescent; leaves triangular-ovate to deltoid; [restricted to sands of c. TX, sw. AR, and w. LA]
............ ............ ............ ............ ..26 Pubescence seldom if at all glandular-viscid, composed of simple trichomes of varying lengths, from dense, spreading, and long-villous to sparse, strigose and appressed; leaf blades narrowly ovate to broadly lanceolate, the base cuneate (rarely truncate).
............ ............ ............ ............ ......28 Pedicels and flowering calyces pubescent with minute, appressed, antrorse hairs; hairs on the calyx primarily confined to 10 narrow longitudinal strips consisting of simple, appressed hairs < 0.5 mm long.
............ ............ ............ ............ ........29 Leaves lanceolate to lance-linear, narrower than the following, many ca. 3.5× as long as wide
............ ............ ............ ............ ........29 Leaves lanceolate to broadly lanceolate to ovate, generally broader than above, about 2.5× as long as wide, or broader.
............ ............ ............ ............ ..........30 Principal leaves lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, usually single-stemmed, erect; [widespread in e. US]
............ ............ ............ ............ ..........30 Principal leaves ovate; plants usually several-branched from base, stems spreading; [s. TX]
............ ............ ............ ............ ......28 Plants moderately to densely pubescent with divergent hairs 1-1.5 mm long, and antrorse or retrorse hairs to 0.5 mm long; pedicels and flowering calyces densely pubescent with divergent and appressed hairs mixed (or only with appressed retrorse hairs); hairs on the calyx scattered more or less evenly over the surface, not confined to 10 longitudinal strips
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 31 Plants erect; leaf margins coarsely to shallowly dentate or entire; hairs divergent and retrorse (reflexed or retrorse hairs often mixed with spreading hairs
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 31 Plants decumbent; leaf margins entire or undulate; hairs divergent and antrorse.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..32 Leaf blades oblanceolate; flowering calyces and pedicels not hispid; [plants of e. Coastal Plain (sandhills of NC, SC, GA)]
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..32 Leaf blades elliptic-ovate; flowering calyces and pedicels hispid with stiff spreading hairs; [plants of Great Plains]