Cape gooseberry

Also known as:

Ground cherry

Family: Solanaceae

Origin: South America

Close up of a branch of cape gooseberry with pointed leaves and a puffy green berry.
After the plant has flowered, the calyx expands, forming a beige husk that fully encloses the fruit.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • Not a legally declared pest

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Herbaceous, hairy shrub < 1.6 m tall. Leaves are dark green, hairy and heart-shaped. Flowers are small, yellow with a purple/brown centre and borne in December – January. Fruit is a small, round, yellow berry enclosed in a papery husk.

What you need to know

Although cape gooseberry is not a legally declared pest plant, it may still be invasive in some situations. Consider lower risk alternatives for your garden, such as native plants.


Forests, forest and riparian margins, disturbed habitats, plantations, gardens.


Seeds dispersed by animals. Human-mediated dispersal through deliberate plantings.

Impact on environment

May dominate natural habitats, but no notable impact so far in New Zealand.


Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig out.

Plant parts requiring disposal: Seeds.

Disposal options: Compost in a composting weed bag or remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical.


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

No qualifications: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water.

Certified Handler/Experienced agrichemical user: Foliar spray with 100ml glyphosate green per 10L of water and 10ml penetrant.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Close up of cape gooseberry leaves.
Cape gooseberries have spreading branches and velvety, heart-shaped leaves.
Photo credit: Su Sinclair
Close up of a cape gooseberry flower.
Flowers are yellow with purple-brown spots inside.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow
Three cape gooseberries.
The fruit is a round berry 1.25-2 cm wide, with smooth, glossy, orange-yellow skin.
Photo credit: Jonathan Boow