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.