Physalis Alkekengi - Chinese Lantern

Physalis Alkekengi - Chinese Lantern

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Physalis alkekengi, the bladder cherry, Chinese lantern, Japanese-lantern, strawberry groundcherry, or winter cherry, is a species of flowering plant in the nightshade family Solanaceae. 

The Chinese Lantern plant (Physalis alkekengi) is a hardy perennial that bears creamy white flowers in summer, but is mostly grown for its the papery orange ‘lanterns’ (calyces) that enclose the round berries in autumn. Left on the plant they eventually form a papery skeleton around the red berry within, but if they are cut at their peak, they make excellent dried flowers. To dry them, cut the stems soon as the lanterns have turned orange, remove the leaves, then hang upside down in an airy, dark place for a few weeks to dry.

Chinese lantern spreads via underground stems, in a similar way to mint, and can be invasive if grown in the garden. Like mint, it’s often grown in pots to check its spread – you could bury the container in your garden soil, or add a barrier around the roots to stop them spreading.