- Branched soft-wooded perennial with velvety heart-shaped, nearly opposite leaves.
- Bears yellow bell-shaped, nodding flowers from in the leaf axils, with dark purple-brown spots in the throat.
- The fruit is a berry the size of a marble with smooth, waxy, orange-yellow skin and juicy pulp containing numerous very small yellowish seeds.
- It is covered in a straw-coloured husk and takes 70 to 80 days to mature.
- As the fruits ripen, they begin to drop to the ground, but will continue to mature and change from green to the golden-yellow of the mature fruit.
- Annual in temperate regions (dies back in winter and start to grow out again in spring), perennial in the tropics.
- Easily grown in pots
- Unique flavour.
- Cape gooseberry can be eaten fresh, added to fruit salads and fruit cocktails, dipped in chocolate and other glazes, pricked and rolled in sugar or combined with avocado.
- For desert it can be cooked with apples or ginger and stewed with honey.
- Has a high pectin content - can be canned whole, preserved as jam, made into sauce, used in pies, puddings, chutneys and ice cream.
- The berries can be dried into tasty "raisins" or used as a garnish.
Medicinal Uses. It is said that:
- Fruit and leaves.
- Harvest when it falls to the ground (not all fallen fruits may be in the same stage of maturity - must be held until they ripen.
- If fruit is left inside the husks, its shelf life at room temperature is over 30-45 days. Can be freezed.
- Cape gooseberry is a good source of Vitamin P, A, C, plant sterols and flavonoids.
- It is high in protein (16%) and has antihistamine (allergies), anti-carcinogenic (cancer), antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- In folk medicine it has been used for cancer, malaria, asthma, hepatitis, dermatitis and rheumatism.
- Today it is used within European herbal medicine to treat kidney and bladder stones, fluid retention, gout and urinary tract disorders.
- In Colombia a leaf decoction is used as a diuretic and anti-asthmatic and in Spain a wine is made with the fruit to treat excess fluid retention and problems of the urinary tract.
- In South Africa the heated leaves are applied as poultices on inflammations.
- The Zulus administer the leaf infusion as an enema to relieve abdominal ailments in children.