Fact Sheets


Nicandra physalodes (L.) Gaertn.

Family :

Famille :


Synonym(s) :

Synonyme(s) :

Atropa physalodes L. (USDA-ARS 2022)
Pentagonia physalodes (L.) Hiern (USDA-ARS 2022)

Common Name(s) :

Nom(s) commun(s) :

Apple of Peru

(English) (GC 2016; CABI 2022)

Nicandre faux-coqueret (French) (GC 2016)

Nicandre faux-alkekenge (French) (CABI 2022)

Chinese lantern (English) (CABI 2022)

Shoo-fly plant (English) (CABI 2022)

Capuli cimarron (Spanish) (CABI 2021)

  • Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes) seeds

  • Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes) seeds

  • Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes) seed

  • Apple of Peru (Nicandra physalodes) seed, side view

  • Nicandra physalodes berry and calyx

  • Nicandra physalodes calyx and berry

  • Nicandra physalodes calyx closeup view

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Regulation :

Remarques Réglementation:

  • CFIA Weed Seeds Order - Class 2: Primary Noxious Weed Seeds
  • USA Federal Noxious Weed Seed List

Regulation Notes:

Distribution :

Répartition :

Native to South America and widely introduced elsewhere, including North America, Asia, Africa, eastern Europe, Australia and New Zealand (CABI 2022; USDA-ARS 2022). In the United States it occurs mainly in the eastern and Midwestern states (Kartesz 2015). In Canada, it occurs generally in Ontario and Quebec and is rare in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (Brouillet et al. 2010+; Darbyshire 2003).

Habitat and Crop Association :

Habitat et Cultures Associées :

Nicandra physalodes grows in cultivated fields, old fields, gardens, roadsides and disturbed areas (Scoggan 1979; Gleason and Cronquist 1991; Darbyshire 2003). It infests a wide range of crops, including cereals, Glycine max (soybeans), Phaseolus vulgaris (beans), Zea mays (corn), Sorghum bicolor (sorghum), Gossypium hirsutum (cotton) and vegetables, as well as pastures, orchards and vineyards (Holm et al. 1997; CABI 2022).

Economic Use, cultivation area, and Weed Association :

Utilisation économique, zone de culture et association de mauvaises herbes :

Duration of Life Cycle :

Durée du cycle vital:


Dispersal Unit Type :

Type d’unité de dispersion :


General Information


Nicandra physalodes has been reported to produce an average of 16,000 seeds per plant, and be as high as 40,000 seeds (Holm et al. 1997). Seeds are dispersed by water, soil movement and as a contaminant in grain and birdseed (Holm et al. 1997; CABI 2022). Seeds can remain viable in undisturbed soil up to 15 years (Holm et al. 1997).


Nicandra physalodes plant (Ohio State Weed Lab , The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org)



  • Berry


    • Berry diameter: 10.0 – 15.0 mm (Holm et al. 1997)


    • Berry is globose

    Surface Texture

    • Berry surface is smooth (Holm et al. 1997)


    • Berry is yellowish (Holm et al. 1997)

    Other Features

    • The calyx enlarges in maturity to enclose the berry
    • The calyx is brown coloured and a papery consistency when mature (Holm et al. 1997)
  • Seed


    • Seed length*: 1.4 2.3 mm; width: 1.3 – 1.8 mm
    *Note: minimum and maximum of 20 seeds in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)


    • Seed is D-shaped or oval, compressed in edge view

    Surface Texture

    • Seed texture is wavy ridged reticulate with thick ridges and deep, concave interspaces


    • Seed is glossy orange to brownish-orange

    Other Features

    Hilum and Hilum area

    • Hilum is a closed slit along the narrow edge of the seed near one end
  • Embryo


    • Embryo partially fills the seed


    • Embryo is circular


    • Endosperm is soft and translucent white

    Other Features

    • Embryo is in a peripheral position in the seed

Identification Tips


D-shaped seeds that are compressed in edge view is a common seed shape in the Solanaceae. The combination of a glossy orange or brownish-orange colour, thick, wavy ridged reticulation and deep interspaces is characteristic of this species. Other seeds in the Solanaceae generally have thin ridged reticulation, shallow interspaces, and are a shiny yellow colour.


Additional Botany Information



  • Flowers are bell-shaped and pale blue to white in colour (CABI 2022)

Vegetative Features

  • Plants are 1 – 2 meters in height with ribbed stems and alternate leaf arrangement (CABI 2022)

Similar Species


Similar species are based on a study of seed morphology of various species, and those with similar dispersal units are identified. The study is limited by physical specimen and literature availability at the time of examination, and possibly impacted by the subjectivity of the authors based on their knowledge and experience. Providing similar species information for seed identification is to make users aware of similarities that could possibly result in misidentification.

Physalis pubescens L. (husk tomato)

Physalis pubescens seeds (length*: 1.6 – 3.5 mm; width: 1.4 – 2.1 mm) are generally larger than Nicandra physalodes, but the size ranges do overlap. The seeds are glossy yellow or orange with wavy ridged reticulation and longer interspaces near the hilum, compared to orange or brownish-orange seeds and the uniform interspaces of N. physalodes.

* Note: minimum and maximum of 10 seeds in a normal range of this species using image measurement (ISMA 2020)


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Brouillet, L., Coursol, F., Meades, S. J., Favreau, M., Anions, M., Bélisle, P. and Desmet, P. 2010+. VASCAN, the database of vascular plants of Canada. http://data.canadensys.net/vascan/ Accessed March 03, 2022.

Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI). 2022. Invasive Species Compendium, CAB International, Wallingford, UK. https://www.cabidigitallibrary.org/journal/cabicompendium Accessed March 03, 2022.

Darbyshire, S. J. 2003. Inventory of Canadian Agricultural Weeds. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch. Ottawa, ON.

Gleason, H. A. and Cronquist, A. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Secretariat. 2022. https://doi.org/10.15468/39omei Accessed via https://www.gbif.org/species/5341754 Accessed December 29, 2022.

Government of Canada (GC). 2016. Canadian Weed Seeds Order. https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2016-93/page-2.html (English) https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/fra/reglements/DORS-2016-93/page-2.html (French)

Holm, L., Doll, J., Holm, E., Pancho, J. and Herberger, J. 1997. World Weeds, Natural Histories and Distribution. Jon Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1129 pp.

International Seed Morphology Association (ISMA). 2020. Method for Seed Size Measurement. Version 1.0. ISMA Publication Guide.

Kartesz, J. T. 2015. The Biota of North America Program (BONAP). North American Plant Atlas. Chapel Hill, N.C., www.bonap.org/MapSwitchboard.html Accessed March 03, 2022.

Scoggan, H. J. 1979. Flora of Canada. National Museums of Canada, Ottawa.

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Services (USDA-ARS). 2022. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx Accessed March 03, 2022.

U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). 2022. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC USA. http://plants.usda.gov Accessed December 29, 2022.



Jennifer Neudorf, Angela Salzl, Ruojing Wang, Karen Castro, Katrina Entwistle
Canadian Food Inspection Agency