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Will ground cherries cross pollinate with tomatillos?

Hi Dawn,

This is an extremely interesting question.  What information exists on the subject is conflicting.  

According to Suzanne Ashworth's "Seed to Seed", "all of the species of Phylsalis are perfect and self-pollinating. Tomatillo, P. ixocarpa, will not cross with any other Physalis species,"
Tomatillos rarely cross-pollinate, so plant as many varieties as you like."

I have also read that tomatillos are self-incompatible.  My own experience with tomatillos isn't much help, either.  One year I had only 2 plants 50 ft. apart.  One was Verde, and one was Grande.  I had more tomatillos than I knew what to do with.  This year, my garden is mostly tomatillos, huge blooming their heads off, and not one fruit has set.  Not even after the application of a fruit-setting hormone.

My answer is no, because they are different species, although in the same Genus.  For instance Queen Anne's lace will cross with a carrot, because they are both Dacus Carota. Yellow summer squash (cucurbita pepo) will cross with Connecticut Field pumpkin, but not with Jack-o-lantern, because one is Cucurbita Pepo, and one is Cucurbita Maxima.  I did this one year and the fruit looked like a 10lb. zucchini.  
There are about 80 species of Physalis.  P. subglabrata grows wild in my area.


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Susan Tabor


Entomology,plant pathology, agronomy, native plants, useful and edible plants,medicinal plants,landscape design and installation, plant taxonomy and identification, cultivars and varieties, Botany, nutrient deficiencies, plant recommendations and troubleshooting.


35 years as a professional horticulturist and landscape contractor. I have a network of contacts at leading universities and with acknowledged experts in the field. I've restored the landscapes of several plantations, 2 Governors mansions and owned/managed 3 nursery/garden centers. I discovered a new subspecies of Emelia in 1997. I've locally introduced several native or volunteer species into mainstream landscape design.

Morning Advocate The Register Better Homes and Gardens All Experts - Approx 1996-97

Louisiana State University - horticulture David L. Hoffman - California - phytotheraphy

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