Gooseberry vs. Goldenberry: Is There a Difference?

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Published: September 28, 2022
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Despite their similar names, gooseberries, and goldenberries are not the same plant or fruit. Goldenberries are also known as cape gooseberries but are actually more related to tomatillos. They are ground cherries with a tart flavor. Gooseberries refer to various species of different-colored berries and thorny plants.

So, how can you tell these two apart? What are the main differences? Follow along to discover key differences between gooseberries and goldenberries.

Comparing Gooseberry vs. Goldenberry

GooseberryGoldenberry
Scientific ClassificationPart of the Grossulariaceae family and Ribes genus.Part of the Solanaceae family and Physalis genus.
DescriptionGooseberries are spiny small shrubs or trees with green, and pink blossoming flowers. The fruits are ovular, edible, and have a leathery appearance. The plant has 4 or 5 lobed leaves and grows up to 5 feet tall.This plant has purple and green branches with thick leaves growing in bunches. The leaves are like tomato plant leaves. Goldenberry fruits are encased in an orange, green, or yellow casing that when you peel back reveals an orange or red fruit.
UsesYou can use Gooseberries are to make sweet jams, jellies, and purees in desserts like pies.Cut and cook into salads, jams, jellies, and thick sauces. Can act as an antioxidant.
Origin and Growing PreferencesUnited States, India, and the Arctic Circle. USDA zones 3-8.Peru and Chile, specifically the Andean mountains. USDA zones 8-10.
Flavor and TasteThey are a tart and almost citrus-like berry often compared to pineapples and strawberries.Tart, tangy, and tropical.

Key Differences Between Gooseberry vs. Goldenberry

As soon as you take a look at a gooseberry and goldenberry plant up-close and next to each other, it is obvious they are extremely different. While they both produce sweet and tart fruit a similar size, the leaves, fruit’s appearance, and growth is not the same. Their similarities end pretty quickly. Telling the difference between these fruits can save you the headache of growing these plants in incorrect zones. Keep reading to discover five key differences between gooseberry and goldenberry plants.

Gooseberry vs. Goldenberry: Classification

Gooseberry
Gooseberries are part of the Grossulariaceae family and Ribes genus.

©iStock.com/Lena_Zajchikova

The first major difference between gooseberries and goldenberries is the scientific classification. Gooseberries are part of the Grossulariaceae family and Ribes genus. This type of plant is actually a broad term for multiple gooseberry varieties. Goldenberries however are part of the Solanaceae family and Physalis genus. Despite being called a ‘berry’, they are closely related to tomatoes and eggplants. There are also two main species of goldenberries, Physalis peruviana and Physalis grisea.

Gooseberry vs. Goldenberry: Description

Goldenberry
Goldenberries are orange penny-sized fruits.

©iStock.com/PicturePartners

These plants look very different, but produce similarly shaped fruits. Gooseberry trees are sharp and spiny bushes. When they flower, the stems produce bunches of three to four green and pink flowers. The stems range in length. The fruit looks a lot like grapes growing on a vine. Gooseberry trees spread about 3 to 4 feet and grow 4 feet tall.

Goldenberries have a different appearance. They grow tall and spread quickly. Like tomatoes and other plants in the Solanaceae family, sometimes their stems are purple and they grow larger on a trellis with support. The fruits have an outside green and orange shell. When you peel back the shell, it reveals small orange penny-sized fruits.

Gooseberry vs. Goldenberry: Uses

Both fruits are often used in jams, jellies, and other sweet fillings. However, you can eat gooseberries and goldenberries raw. The best time to eat these fruits is when they are ripe and slightly soft to the touch. These plants also have great antioxidants and are a low-calorie fruit perfect for maintaining and losing weight.

Gooseberry vs. Goldenberry: Origin and Growing Preferences

Goldenberry
Goldenberries are naturally grown in the Andean Mountains in Chile and Peru.

©iStock.com/Marieke Peche

Although you can grow goldenberries and gooseberries anywhere in the world with proper care and the right conditions, they originate from different places. Gooseberries are native to the United States, India, and the Arctic Circle. They grow best in North U.S, but some people in Southern states have luck growing a dwarf variety indoors by their window. The best USDA zones for growth are 3-8.

Goldenberries, however, are naturally grown in the Andean Mountains in Chile and Peru. However, they are very common in Hawaii, South Africa, and China. They grow best in USDA zones 8-10. A good rule of thumb to follow is if you can grow tomatoes in your garden, then you can also grow goldenberries. When growing from seed, the soil temperature should be at least 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gooseberry vs. Goldenberry: Flavor and Taste

So, what do these delicious and adorable fruits taste like? Gooseberries are tart, sour, but slightly sweet. This makes them perfect for jams enjoyed during breakfast. Goldenberries are tangy and tart, much like a cherry. They are also considered tropical fruits because of their light and refreshing citrusy taste. They almost taste and feel like you are biting into a fresh, refreshing, and sweet peach!

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Gooseberry vs Goldenberry
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About the Author

I have been a professional content writer for 6 years now, with a large focus on nature, gardening, food, and animals. I graduated from college with an A.A, but I am still pursuing a Bachelors of Marketing degree. When I am not writing, you can find me in front of my TV with a blanket, snacks, and my fur babies.

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