Physalis virginiana is a perennial herb to 60 cm, colonial from rhizomes, stems much branched in a forked pattern, most parts minutely hairy, hairs short, curved (use lens).
Leaves alternate (sometimes appearing opposite), 4-10 cm long, narrowly egg or lance-shaped-shaped, minutely hairy, tip pointed, base narrowed, unequal or extending down stalk, margin sometimes with a few teeth or shallow lobes.
Flowers yellow with dark purplish base or blotches, radially symmetrical, petals 1.2-1.8 cm long, anther stalks (filaments) broad below, narrowed above, calyx tube pale green, hairy, lobes 0.3-0.5 cm; flowers solitary in axils; blooms May-Aug.
Fruit orange to red, fleshy, round, seeds numerous; calyx enlarging in fruit to 3-3.5 cm long, covering fruit in a thin, 5-angled, membranous, veiny “bag”, base sunken.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Dry, open woods, fields. Seen only in root ball of a planted tree.