Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Physalis alkekengi

Do you recognize this plant? You are likely seeing it now, around these parts anyway, in harvest decorations. I most often hear this plant referred to as Japanese lantern. The common name I use is ground cherry. 

It's a lovely perennial around here that will take over a garden if you let it. It makes creamy white flowers in summer and then bright red-orange fruits that are hidden within the lovely, lacy, papery orange husks.

The berry within is so beautiful and its nature mirrors - for me - the many lessons and stories of this darkening season. I nibble on these autumn fruits and find them delightful. Some folks don't care the tart autumn flavor, and I've heard that too many can cause tummy aches. I've never experienced this and - quite frankly - too many berries of any kind are likely to inspire tummy upset.


5 comments:

mrsb said...

Oh, how pretty! I've never seen those before! The outside, papery husk reminds me of tomatillas.

Neo said...

very interesting. Have never seen nor heard of. looks beautiful and very earthy (no other word would work) thank you, I love the gift of knowledge

Nao said...

I love these beauties too. Their seeds remind me of a kind of secret, wrapped in a kind of ancient and mystical paper.

Ruth said...
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Ruth said...

Yes, I remember this plant. My mother called it "Chinese Lantern." Goes by several names as you mentioned. I wish I had some around here. They are lovely.