Chinese Lantern (Physalis alkekengi) This herbaceous perennial grows into compact bushes with dense foliage and inedible, tomato-like fruits that form inside symbolic orange and red, papery coverings resembling opaque lanterns. There is high value for this dried species in fall displays. In Japan, the seeds are used during the Bon Festival as offerings to guide the souls of the deceased. This plant spreads underground by rhizomes and should be contained in certain situations. Physalis is a close relative of the Cape Gooseberry but is not cultivated as a food crop. The fruit is tasteless and it should be noted that the unripe fruit and leaves are toxic if enough is ingested.
50 seeds per packet $3.95
Planting Instructions: Requires cold stratification before seeding. (4-5 weeks of refrigeration.) Start indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Broadcast seed on top of soil and lightly cover with dome or plastic film until emergence. Seeds can be sown outdoors in the late fall to satisfy cold period required for spring germination.