Sunday, March 18, 2012

Physalis peruviana, the Andean candy

The Uchuva, Peruvian Alquejenje, Goldenberry, Aguaymanto, Poga poga, Capulí, Uvilla or Coztomate are a shrub of the Solanaceae family that grows wild in the Andean countries, especially in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile between 1500 and 3000 msl. The largest producer is Colombia that exports mainly to Europe. Its culture has extended to other nonAndean countries like Zimbawe, South Africa, Kenya, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, etc. In Spain it is cultivated with great success in the province of Huelva. It needs a fresh climate without extreme temperatures and a high pluviometry. 

Fruits of Physalis peruviana. Wrapped in the five sepals of the calyx welded together in the form of calyx are kept in perfect condition for months as protects them from insects, birds, fungi, bacteria and extreme weather conditions, both the intense cold and the torrid heat.

Young plant of Uchuva cultivated in the island of Majorca near the coast on a slightly alkaline calcareous-argillaceous earth with PH between 7 and 7´5, very rich in organic matter. The climate is to it so favorable that it gets to be invading. The plant of Uchuva or Peruvian Alquejenje is an evergreen bush grass that can reach two meters of height. Its stems partially lignified have tendency to grow prostrate, since they cannot support the weight of the leaves and the fruits. When a branch leans in the ground very easily takes root, so that the new roots contribute to the nutrition and hydration of all the plant, being able to cover up to three m2 of surface. 

Flower of Peruvian Alquejenje with five welded yellow petals to each other in the form of bell with five black spots surrounding the reproductive organs to indicate to the insects pollenizers where it is the small drop of nectar. The androecium is formed by 5 stamens inserted to the same height in the superior part of the tube of corola. The gynoecium is formed by a bilocular ovary and a stigma in the form of saddle. In the image the pubescent cover formed by abundant hairs of smooth tact is appraised, covering both the stems and leaves.

Mature fruits of Physalis peruviana at the end of June.

Several fruits of Uchuva in its optimal point of ripeness to be collected.

Same previous fruits after retiring the bag that protects them. Each fruit usually weighs between 4 and 7 grams. They taste very sweet, acid and slightly refreshing.

Removing the five sepals back the small fruit can be covered with a liquid chocolate layer, so that once solidified it becomes a delicious chocolate.

The protective calyx seen backlight has a structure crosslinked felt. I recommend enlarge photos with a double click to see details better.

Pulp of Uchuva, very rich in provitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron and phosphorus and one appreciable amount of proteins, something unusual in a fruit. It fortifies the immune system. Its consumption for prostate problems is recommended. 

Detail of the substantial pulp of Physalis peruviana. The small discoides seeds are appraised very well. They germinate very easily. 


  1. Hi Juan,

    Again amazing photos showing all your love,work & dedication you put in to your garden. Congratulations!

    I also have this plant but have some problems with it,don't know ye,t but can be a fungus. It has a red colour veins. My seedling lucumas have some troubles too. I email the rare fruit society in South Australia, but had no response. Also asked a nursery but these plants aren't known in Australia.

    If possible, can I email you my photos to see what you think, please?

    My email is

    Thank you


  2. Hi, Dora:

    Ok, send me your photos and I will try.

    Best Regards:


  3. Cheers Juan! Where is best to send them?


  4. You can send me the photos at this email:


  5. Hi Juan,
    Thank you for your advice.

    Spring has come and all my plants are looking happier. I can't wait to have some fruit like the ones you show us here....yum yum

    Un abrazo


  6. Hi Dora,

    I desire your plants produce a lot of delicious fruits.

    Un abrazo:


  7. Hi Juan,
    I don't know if you're still updating this blog or will see this comment, but I too have a couple of these plants and they are having problems, and I've searched the internet high and low for someone who has some experience growing them to ask for advice. If you're still available for a consult I'd really appreciate one. Thanks y muchos saludos desde Venezuela!

  8. Buenos días, Zafra;

    Te escribo en español porque dices ser de Venezuela. Tengo el mismo blog en nuestro idioma y puedes hacerme la consulta allí:

    Un saludo desde el Mediterráneo.