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Kevin Doyle

Large-flowered Ground-cherry (Leucophysalis grandiflora)

Life history

Species overview

Large-flowered Ground-cherry (Leucophysalis grandiflora), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found mostly in recently burned or disturbed moist to dry forests, as well as on gravel bars of large rivers. Blooming occurs throughout July; fruiting occurs throughout August. The optimal identification period for this species is throughout July.

Synonyms: Chamaesaracha grandiflora, Physalis grandiflora


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Flowers white with a pale yellow center, 2 to 4 from the upper nodes; leaves lance-ovate, entire.
  • Flower characteristics: Inflorescence commonly of 2 to 4 flowers from the upper nodes, on pedicels 10 to 15 mm; flowers white with a pale yellow center, 3 to 4 cm wide; corolla wide open; filaments slender; anthers 3 mm.
  • Fruit characteristics: Fruiting calyx 1.5 cm, round-ovoid, open at the end and nearly filled by the berry.
  • Leaf characteristics: Alternate, ovate or lance-ovate, 5 to 12 cm long, entire.


  • Blooming phenology: throughout July
  • Fruiting phenology: throughout August
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is throughout July


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Pinus spp., Quercus spp., Populus spp.; detailed associates not recorded for Wisconsin populations.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Large-flowered Ground-cherry (Leucophysalis grandiflora). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Leucophysalis grandiflora in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG4?
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found mostly in recently burned or disturbed moist to dry forests, as well as on gravel bars of large rivers.
  • Soils: Dry, sandy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Large-flowered Ground-cherry. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Large-flowered Ground-cherry. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid locating landings, staging areas, or access routes in open sandy areas dominated by native grasses.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • This species requires disturbance, including soil disturbance, and will likely benefit from canopy openings
  • Prescribed burns and/or brushing may be beneficial (dependent on local site conditions).


Large-flowered Ground-cherry Photo.

Photo © Kim Wheeler.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition