I can’t say with absolute certainty that this is what I am growing since the plant was given to me by someone way back in the spring, and she was unsure of the origin. All we know is that the plant is much larger and taller than the smaller ground cherries (I believe these are Physalis pruinosa) that are popular at farmers’ markets in this region. I have grown that plant in the past, and they tend to grow along the ground (hence the name), while the type I am growing has big leaves, big fruit, and a tall growth habit.
I’m growing the giant cape gooseberry plant on the roof in a very large, metal garbage can. It’s not a great year for tropical sun lover’s; however, the added heat from the metal and good drainage is doing wonders for it and there should be some ripe fruit soon if the warm weather keeps up.
If you’ve never tasted cape gooseberries or ground cherries I urge you to do so. They have a surprising citrus tang with a hint of pineapple. So amazingly tropical yet they will thrive in this climate and even self-seed into just about anywhere with an inch of soil. I’ve found plants coming up in sidewalk cracks and the part of my roof that is just a thin layer of gravel on top of tar paper.