Difference Between Tomatillo and Ground Cherry

Tomatillo and Ground Cherry are both plants that are related to the popular plant of Tomato. These are popular in the use of various savory dishes and even in some desserts as well.


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They can also be grown in the home garden as well. But one should know their allergies and only try them after full knowledge. The family of Tomatillo and Ground Cherry is the same as that of is the Physalis family.

They both are fruits contrary to what one would think. The taste is close to tomatoes, but the main flavor still has its differences. They are filled with antioxidants, vitamins, and many other nutrients required by the body.

Tomatillo vs Ground Cherry

The difference between Tomatillo and Ground Cherry is that Ground Cherry tends to be smaller than Tomatillo in size. The color of their riped versions is different as well. Tomatillo is green, whereas Ground cherry is available in either orange or yellow.

Tomatillo vs Ground Cherry

Tomatillo is a plant that is quite a staple in Mexican cuisine. It is a part of a large nightshade family that is home to many plants. They are mostly green in color, but other forms are also available that are of purple and yellow color.

Ground Cherry is a plant planted mainly in the spring season or in warm weather that is more fruiter and sweet in comparison to other varieties sit the Physalis genus. The end flavor would be tangy. These are popular in sweet dishes, especially in pies, and even can be eaten raw as it is.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison TomatilloGround Cherry
Other namesHusk Tomato, Mexican ground cherry, etc.Cape Gooseberry, Ground Cherry.
Color Tomatillos are green in color, and other varieties include yellow and purple. Ground Cherry is mostly either orange or yellow when ripe.
Size in inches18 to 36 inches1/2 to 3/4 inches
Botanical NamePhysalis ixocarpa BotanicalPhysalis pruinosa, Physalis peruviana, or Physalis Virginiana.
Varieties Mexican, Pineapple, Purple de Milpa, and many more.Aunt Molly’s, Goldie’s, and Cossak pineapple.
Food DishesUsed in making different sauces, soups, salsa, curries, etc.Used in the making of pies, salsas, salads, tarts, etc.

What is Tomatillo?

The name Tomatillo has come from Spanish, meaning “little tomatoes.” The fruit is used in various dishes, popularly in Mexican cuisine in foods like soup, salsa, chutneys, etc. The plant is grown mostly in the states of Mexico and then the United States.

The image of the plant is similar to a tomato, an unripe one. It can be eaten raw as well as cooked. There aren’t many calories in Tomatillo, thus making it a good option for people on diets. The plant cannot be grown on its own and need at least two or three species of the same plant for pollination.

There are other names that the fruit is called in, for example, Mexican green tomato,large-flowered Tomatillo, Mexican ground Cherry, or miltomate, and many more. The most common dish made out of the plant is “Salsa Verde,” alongside being in other numerous dishes in Mexican cuisine.


What is Ground Cherry?

Ground Cherry is a plant belonging to the Physalis genus. The name is said to be known as it is said that the plant used to touch the ground once they become ripe. It is a fruit that can be eaten either raw or cooked.

It is filled with many vitamins and other important nutrients like calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and many more. The plant does not require exterior roots to grow as they grow their own while being harvested in the process.

The whole plant grows to be a maximum of 15 inches and looks like a shrub. The flavor of the plant is mild and a little sweet and savory making it great for the making of desserts like pies, tarts, and cakes. Other than that, it is also used in savory dishes as well.

The plant is not that common but is slightly being recognized nowadays. They are very tiny, like Cherry tomatoes, and are full of flavor. The Ground cherry is covered in a husk. The husk can be used as a garnish or decoration while plating the dish involving Ground Cherries.

ground cherry

Main Differences Between Tomatillo and Ground Cherry

  1. Tomatillo is green in color, while in comparison, Ground Cherry is either red or orange in their riped version of the plant.
  2. Tomatillo is bigger in size than Ground Cherry. Ground Cherry is very small, like small cherries.
  3. Tomatillos are ready to pick when the plant is filled in its husk. On the other hand, Ground Cherries are picked when the husk of the plant is dried.
  4. The taste of Tomatillo is tart-like. On the contrary, Ground Cherry is somewhat sweet and sour in flavor. For this reason, Ground Cherry can also be eaten right after it is plucked from the plant.
  5. There are more varieties of Tomatilla in comparison to the number of varieties in Ground Cherry. Ground Cherry mainly has three varieties, whereas Tomatilla has more than six varieties, the most common being Amarilla, Gigante, Green Husk, and Mexican.
  6. The skin of a ripe Tomatillo would be sloppy or sticky, while the skin of a Ground Cherry is not sticky on the outside and instead is dry.
Difference Between Tomatillo and Ground Cherry


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1008081118549
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