Would crossing tomatillos and ground cherries work? I love my tomatillos, especially purple ones, and just tasted my first ripe ground cherries. Yum! Now if those were bigger and a bit rowdier plants, and more flavors....
Anyone done this? Did it work? Got seeds to sell or share? Know a named variety I can buy someplace?
Seems like an interesting idea!
i’ve researched it and tried a few crosses with no takes a few years ago. my vague recollection is that the tomatillo species (P. pennsylvanica and/or ixocarpa? memory is a little fuzzy) has a different chromosome count than other ground cherries, which makes cross-pollination really unlikely without chemical (or otherwise) gene-doubling techniques.
i do remember a european-bred tomatillo variety that ripens to yellow and is sweet at ripeness, that may be kind of like what a potential breeding between tomatillo and other ground cherries end point might be like…currently forgetting it’s name. maybe like ‘amarylla’ or similar. probably saw it in the baker creek catalog a handful of years ago.
Some varieties of ground cherries have the same number of chromosomes as tomatillos, and they are in the same genus, so crossing might be possible. It's not easy to determine which is which, so it's a trial and error process to work it out.
When attempting inter-species hybrids, a best practice is to use mixed pollen from many different donors, and applying it to many different recipients. That way, the rare combinations that work are more likely to be discovered.