Poha Ground Cherry - Oh So Sweet!
A bushy plant, it grows 1 1/2 to 3' tall and about as wide with heart-shaped, toothy and slightly velvety leaves. The small, bell-shaped whitish flowers fade into a loose, papery husk that surrounds the maturing marble-sized fruit that ripens from late summer into fall.
Also known by the names Cape gooseberry, Inca berry, Aztec berry or Peruvian ground cherry is originally from high-altitude, tropical South America and is closely related to the tomatillo.
A widely traveled fruit, it was introduced to England and South Africa in the late 18th Century as well as Australia, New Zealand, and various Pacific islands. It has naturalized at higher elevations throughout the Hawaiian Islands where it grows wild.
With a flavor described as a sweet cherry tomato crossed with mango and pineapple while looking like an orange grape inside a paper lantern, it is a very tasty flavoring with many desserts and makes a great tropical substitute for apricot jam. Poha is eaten fresh from the garden, made into jam or canned with syrup.
Grows best in well-drained soil in a frost-free site. No fertilizer needed. Cut back on watering when fruit is maturing. Harvest fruit when it drops to ground; remove papery husks before using. If the fruit aren't picked up, will often self-sow for next year.
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