Mini Cape Gooseberry

I’m really pleased with this plant. I wrote about it when I purchased it at Bunnings a couple of months ago. It looked like this :


The label said it was a Cape Gooseberry….. :


…..but I disagree. I think it’s a related species, Physalis pruinosa, or a form of it. The typical, or more common Cape Gooseberry is Physalis peruviana. I grew P. pruinosa years ago and it was called Cossack Pineapple then, because the berries had a distinctive pineapple flavour. This one is similar although not so pineapple-y, but much sweeter than P. peruviana, even when the berries are still green. Unripe P. peruviana are sour little mouthfuls, not at all pleasant.

I went back and bought another plant and put one in a medium-sized pot on the deck :


The other went into a large tub beside the water tank :


This one grew larger because it had more root room, plus it was a wicking tub.

They’ve both produced lots of flowers and berries, which has more than made up for the fact that the berries are smaller than Cape Gooseberries :


The fruits are enclosed in a papery husk which is the remains of the flower’s calyx. It keeps them protected from birds. If not picked, they fall when ripe and any little critters wandering around on the ground will find them and get through the husk to the fruits. Sometimes fruits fall when they are still green, but don’t seem to ripen any further. The husk is folded back and given a twist to free the fruit :


I left a dishful on the bench and noticed they were shrivelling up and looking like sultanas, so I’m putting extras in the dehydrator :


Seeds are easy to extract from the fruits and I’m expecting them to germinate readily, like their bigger cousins. When I’ve sown them, I’ll report back. Looking forward to trying plants in the garden, but it seems they don’t tolerate cold conditions, so growing them as an annual may be the way to go in our temperate climate.

8 Responses to “Mini Cape Gooseberry”

  1. narf7 Says:

    We have had cape gooseberries on our property ever since we moved in. Dad had 2 large shrubs growing already and they had spread everywhere as the possums love them. My chooks jump up to get as many as they can and then spread the seeds all over the place as well so we will never be without them. Ours overwinter well. You must get colder winters than we do (or more frost) I just cut the shrubs back when they get a bit unruly and they just keep on keeping on. I have a friend who dehydrates them and adds them to their muesli mix.


    • foodnstuff Says:

      We don’t get frosts here. I think it’s just that maybe I should consider CB’s as a short-term perennial here. They do well for a couple of years then get leggy and woody and fall over and suchlike. This ‘mini’ one is far superior ( at least in a tub), than the normal one, so I’m looking forward to trying it in the garden.

      Glad the strawbs came.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. narf7 Says:

    I forgot to add, I got the strawberries 🙂


  3. Chris Says:

    Oh wow, a lovely snack to rival buying sultanas. My son loves sultanas! You’re lucky you noticed the transformation. Do you like them dried too?

    Unfortunately, I tried growing cape gooseberry here, and it really can’t handle dry conditions. Which is probably why yours went gang-busters in the wicking box! It had access to moisture and didn’t get to dry out. So in the right location, it’s a very productive plant. 🙂


    • foodnstuff Says:

      They’re just like sultanas…..colour and flavour. The small ones dry very tiny and hard if I don’t watch them. I’ve got to be sure they’re dry enough not to go mouldy in storage, but not so dry that they’re too hard. Some things are difficult to get the drying right. I had a bottle of dried ginger which I thought was just right and when I next went to the cupboard, the bottle was full of green mould! Mushrooms are another difficult one to dry.

      This ‘mini’ variety might be different in dry conditions. Will send you some seed to try if you like.


      • Chris Says:

        Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like quite an art to get the dehydration times, just right!

        I’d love to take you up on that offer of seed, but my propagation area is temporarily out of action, while we renovate the verandah. I’ve already had a chilli plant die on us, that was generously gifted by a friend. I just didn’t have my regular plant area set up, so I didn’t take care of it.

        Those Zones of proximity, really do matter! Maybe next year. Thanks for the offer. 🙂


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