The Physalis, or Chinese lantern, is our Flower of the Month October and gives you that true autumn feeling. The brightly orange coloured lanterns bring colour and light to this gloomy season.
The orange lanterns are what make the Physalis branches so special. The lanterns or pods are about 5 centimetres big and look like they’re made out of fragile paper. The Chinese lantern got its common name, because of the shape and the papery texture of the pods. Inside the lantern of the Physalis, you’ll find an orange berry with a sweet and sour taste. You can make jam out of it or use it as decoration for a dessert. But be careful: not all varieties are suitable for consumption.
Comfort & protection
The Greek word Physalis means ‘wrapper’ and that’s probably no coincidence. The lantern protects and cases the berry inside and therefore symbolises safety, comfort and protection. Which is just what you need during these cold and windy autumn days. The plant itself is native to more tropical destinations: Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. All over the world, people believe that the Physalis even has medicinal properties. It is used as a means to soothe a sore throat, as a natural tranquilliser or as a vitamin booster. Again, not all varieties are suitable for consumption, so please be careful.
Our Flower of the Month October is great to use in autumnal bouquets, wreaths or as decoration on an autumn platter with, for example, moss and pumpkins. The lanterns can also be dried. Simply remove the leaves and hang the stems to air-dry. Or place them in a container that is then properly closed and kept in a horizontal position. Once dried, a Chinese lantern can last for several years!
Availability & care
The Physalis is available from the beginning of August until the end of October. You can buy them with or without leaves and as single lanterns. Taking care of the Physalis is fairly easy. Treat them like any other cut flower: cut a bit of the stem, remove possible leaves that will end up below the water line and place the branches in clean water with cut flower food. The vase life of fresh lanterns is usually very good – about 10 to 18 days.