An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

WRIGHT GROUNDCHERRY

Illustration

POTATO FAMILY-Solanaceae

WRIGHT GROUNDCHERRY-Physalis wrightii Gray

DESCRIPTION-Stout bushy annual weeds which reproduce only by seeds. The coarse stems are mostly erect and branching from the base, sometimes spreading, 1 to 3 feet high, or 4 to 6 feet high, and 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter in rich moist cotton fields where competing for light. The alternate leaves vary widely in size and shape, on stalks 3/4 to 4 inches long, the leaf blades 1 1/2 to 5 inches long, and 1/12 to 2 1/2 inches broad. They may be lanceshaped, oblong, or eggshaped, and mostly pointed at the tip. Usually the margins are prominently and irregularly toothed or cut, sometimes indistinctly toothed or merely wavy.

The numerous wheelshaped flowers, l/2 to 3/4 inch across, are whitish with a large yellow eye and purplish anthers. They are borne singly or a few together in any leaf axil, not just in the upper ones. Each is on a threadlike stalk which lengthens and curves downward in fruit. The calyx is persistent, enlarges remarkably, becoming thin and papery, 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches long, conspicuously veiny, hangs down and looks like a green Chinese lantern.

The berrylike seedpod or "cherry", 1/2 to 2/3 inch in diameter, contains many seeds, and is entirely covered by the expanded calyx. The diskshaped seeds, slightly more than 1/12 inch long, are yellowish brown, with a granular surface.

DISTRIBUTION-Wright groundcherry is a native weed which has become a serious pest in the irrigated valleys of southern and central Arizona. It is abundant in all types of crops from early summer to late fall, in orchards, cotton, sorghum, vineyards, roadsides, ditches, and pastures. Also found on open range lands on sandy or gravelly soil, along streams or moist eroded slopes; 100 to 4,000 feet elevation; flowering from April to October or November.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents



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