You search the shops for ghouls and ghosts then growing on your doorstep is a plant laden with seasonal shapes.
The decorative paper thin seed pods of Physalis alkekengi resemble Halloween lanterns. Even the colour, bright orange when ripe, is ideal.
This perennial, with an invasive rhizomatous root system, will, when in the right spot colonise ground rapidly. Just now it is starting to loose its large pointed leaves and exposing the shapely fused calyx by which it has earned the common name “Chinese Lantern”. The single red fruit contained within is typical of the family Solanaceae. Bursting open the numerous small seeds are packaged in moist flesh. Left to fall and disintegrate seedlings will appear during the following year.
A native of Europe and N. Asia and closely related to the Cape Gooseberry, P. peruviana, the fruit of which is often seen in shops.
Leave a Reply