Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chinese Lantern (Physalis alkekengi)

Physalis alkekengi is the botanical name of one of the plants with the common name of Chinese Lantern, this is due to the shape of the bright orange to red covering over its fruit resembling lanterns. It also has the common names of Bladder Cherry, Japanese Lantern and Winter Cherry.

A perennial plant, it grows typically between 40 and 90cm tall and spread of 60cm to 90cm. Full sun or partial shade will be needed, the soil can however be sand, loam or clay and alkaline neutral or acid. In dryer climates, watering will be needed.

Its fruit are alike to cherry tomatoes in appearance and are high in Vitamin C. However, if the fruit is unripe it can be poisonous. Flowers are white and appear in mid-summer.

As an ornamental plant, it should be kept well as it has an invasive nature thanks to its root system. Its root system allows for it to send up new shoots distance away from where it was originally grown.

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