Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Physalis alkekengi (Chinese Lantern)

Botanical Name: Physalis alkekengi
Family: Solanaceae

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Solanales
Genus: Physalis
Species: Physalis alkekengi
Common Name:  Chinese Lantern,
Other Common Names: Alkekengi, Alkekenje, Cape Gooseberry, Chinese Lantern Plant, Chinese Lanterns, Chinese-lantern-plant, Coqueret, Echte Lampionplant, Guveyfeneri, Strawberry Ground-cherry, Strawberry Groundcherry, Strawberry Tomato, Suan Chiang, Teng Leng Ts’Ao, Winter Cherry.  Bengali Name: Tapari

Habitat: Central Asia through China. Has naturalized in some parts of the United States and many other countries.

Plant Type: Perennial
Where To Plant: Full Sun to Partly Shady
Soil Types: Average
Germination: Easy
Number of Seeds Per Pack: 50
Physalis alkekengi, grows to two feet tall and bears small, white flowers followed by large, balloon-like husks. Inside each 2-inch long husk is a small edible scarlet fruit. The Chinese lantern plant is valued for its inflated orange-red seed coverings which resemble miniature Chinese lanterns.
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Largely grown for its vividly colored, orange-red, lantern-shaped fruits which cut and dried are widely used for dried bouquets. Spreads rampantly.

Plants often self-sow in the garden. Set Chinese lantern plants from 2 to 3 feet apart as they tend to spread rapidly. They are a very strong perennial, hardy from zone 3-9. They prefer a sunny location with well-drained soil.
Propagation: By seed.
Growing Environment: Can be successfully grown in full sun or part shade. Generally likes moist soil so watering is neccessary in drier climates.

Largely grown for its vividly colored, orange-red, lantern-shaped fruits.

Uses: Berries are eaten raw, or in preserves and pies. Recommended for fevers and gout.  Almost always grown as an ornamental for its brightly colored, orange husks (lanterns) which cover the fruit. The lanterns are sometimes used in floral decorations, usually with leaves removed. The fruits are edible and suprisingly, are higher in vitamin C than lemons. Care should be taken though, as all other parts of the plant are poisonous.
For winter bouquets, cut the stems in fall just as the lanterns turn color, remove the leaves and hang them, right side up, to dry in a shady, airy place.
Medicinal Uses:
The plant  has a long history of medicinal uses.

Berries eaten raw or in preserves and pies. Good for fevers and gout.
Physalis is the Greek word for bladder. It provides the plant its botanical name because the pod resembles a bladder; and because of the pod’s appearance, preparations from the red berry in the pod were used in the past as a diuretic and for the treatment of kidney and bladder stones. These medicinal properties have not been scientifically confirmed. It has not been prescribed since the end of the seventeenth centu.

Known Hazards: All parts of the plant, except the ripe fruit, are poisonous.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

2 replies on “Physalis alkekengi (Chinese Lantern)”


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