Not to be semantically confused with : Gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa) [a plant with similar name belonging to a differing family (Grossulariaceae)]
Easily mistaken for : Japanese Lantern (Physalis alkengi) but that has an orange inflated sepal containing a red to orange berry.
There are also, in the same Physalis genus,
Tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa) with a green to purple berry which completely fills the inflated yellow calyx and
Large-flowered Tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica) which is similar to Tomatillo but has larger flowers and is obfuscated by a number of cultivars.
Some similarities to : Apple-of-Peru (Nicandra physaloides) to which the specific epithet alludes, but that has pale-blue and white flowers. Although this plant is also in the Nightshade Family (Solanaceae), it is in a differing genera to that of Cape Gooseberry and Japanese Lantern.
Vague similarities to : Orange-Peel Clematis (Clematis tangutica) but this has only four petals (rather than the 5 of Japanese Lantern) and are yellow as are Cape Gooseberry flowers and which initially forms a similarly drooping and apparently closed pointed structure but, unlike the green to orange to to fawn-coloured caged-sepals of Cape Gooseberry, these are not fused together and will open slightly.
No relation to :
Cape Pigweed (Amaranthus capensis), Cape Pondweed (Aponogeton distachyos), Cape Cudweed (Gnaphalium undulatum),
Cape Tulip (Homeria collina),
Cape Marguerite (Osteospermum ecklonis),
Cape Wattle (Paraserianthes lophantha) or Cape Figwort (hygelius capensis) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].
Cape Gooseberry is a neophyte and a garden plant which sometimes escapes into the wild and is naturalised in Hertfordshire. It has an edible (when ripe) yellow to orange fruit but the rest of the plant has some toxins contained within, but despite being in the same Solanaceae family as Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna) these belong in a differing less toxic genera which has differing toxins to those of the more dangerous plants in the Nightshade Family (The black berries of Deadly Nightshade are toxic!). It tastes sweet and when dried and sold in the shops on its own without the papery calyx is known as Goldenberry (although your Author has never seen shops selling this).
FLAVOUR COMPOUNDS OF FRUIT (BERRY)
Strawberry Furanone) is a
Furan derivative found in
Pineapple and many other fruits as well as Buckwheat,
Cape Gooseberry and
Tomato - where it contributes to their aroma, but is malodorous at higher concentrations. It has two stereoisomers, an (S)-(-) form and an (R)-(-) form, but it is mainly the (R)- form which imparts the most aroma. It is one of the products which are formed when
glucose is chemically dehydrated. When
Sucrose is chemically dehydrated
Furanol Glycoside is formed.
Strawberry Furanone Methyl Ether) is also found in
Cape Gooseberry. Notice that it has one extra carbon atom than does Furanone. This furan smells not of strawberry, but musty, mildewy or mouldy - perhaps it is a degradation product of Furaneol after fungal threads have started to decay the fruit(?).
5-Octanolide) smells of
Coconut and is used by the cosmetic industry as a perfuming agent. It is also used by the food industry as a flavouring agent, a substitute for coconut, used in dairy products and cakes or biscuit. (A similar molecule,
γ-DecaLactone is present in many fruits and has an intense
Peach flavour and is used in the drinks industry. it has the same 5-membered lactone ring, but with a longer aliphatic side chain consisting of 6 carbon atoms).
4-Octanolide) also smells of
Coconut and is exploited similarly by the fragrance and flavour fraternity (using chemical synthesis to produce them - otherwise they would have to use real fruits, heaven forbid...).
Your Author has still not been able to find the coconut-smelling compounds produced by Gorse flowers, such as by Common Gorse.
β-Damescenone is another Rose ketone (so called because it is found in
Damask Rose (Rosa damascena)) and is also found in the fruits of Cape Gooseberry and Raspberry,
Tomato etc. It has an intense aroma; its odour threshold being a very low 0.009 ppb, but that of β-Ionone (above) has an odour threshold slightly lower at only 0.007ppb. β-Damescenone is thought to be produced from the degradation of the
NeoXanthin, which is a major xanthophyll to be found in leafy green vegetables. Neoxanthin itself is produced from Violaxanthin.
β-Ionone is one of the so-called Rose Ketones because they are found in the essential oils of species of
Rose (as well as in some other plants).
Methyl 2-MethylButanoate (aka
Methyl-2-MethylButyrate) is a monoterpenoid ester with an ether-like fruity or apple-like aroma which should be treated with caution in its pure state using respirator, faceshields, eyeshields and mask! It is found in a number of differing fruits such as
Tomato and is used as a flavouring ingredient.