There are some annuals with showy fruits and among them none is so much admired as the Chinese Lantern plant, which produces large, inflated, orange-red, lantern-like pods containing small, fleshy fruits much like Tomatoes. The flowers are inconspicuous, being borne in the axils of the leaves, and it is after the leaves have fallen that the fruit is most showy. The plants grow 2 feet high and form dense bushes. Two sorts are cataloged: Physalis francheti which has large, deep red pods, and P. alkekengi, which bears deep orange pods smaller than those of the former species.
Where to Plant. These plants are attractive in vases, for when cut, the fruits retain their color all Winter. In drying these fruits upon the stems, place the latter in a horizontal position, allowing the lanterns to droop sideways; otherwise, some of the graceful appearance is lost. As garden subjects they are less valuable because the fruits are produced late in the Summer, and are more or less hidden.
GENERAL. These plants often prove perennial, but one had best sow seed each year. Started in the open ground in early Spring they grow nicely. They prefer warmth and sunshine and enjoy frequent watering. They self-sow and in some places are so prolific as to become almost wild. They are often riddled with flea-beetles which may be controlled by spraying with arsenate of lead.
PHYSALIS Ground cherry (Chinese Lantern plant)
(Bladder herb) (Winter cherry)
(From physa, a bladder; an allusion to the inflated calyx)