|Physalis is a genus of plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae), native to warm temperate and subtropical regions of the world. All but one species are native to the New World, and most species occur in Mexico in particular. At least 46 species are endemic to the country. The genus is characterised by the small orange fruit similar in size, shape and structure to a small tomato, but partly or fully enclosed in a large papery husk derived from the calyx. Many Physalis species are called groundcherries. One name for Physalis peruviana is Cape gooseberry, not to be confused with the true gooseberries, which are of the genus Ribes in the family Grossulariaceae.
They are herbaceous plants growing to 0.4 to 3 m tall, similar to the common tomato, a plant of the same family, but usually with a stiffer, more upright stem. They can be either annual or perennial. Most require full sun and fairly warm to hot temperatures. Some species are sensitive to frost, but others, such as the Chinese lantern, P. alkekengi, tolerate severe cold when dormant in winter.