These are cool! Plants can be fun too. These Hozuki (Physalis alkekengi) fruit are a bright orange color and also nicknamed Japanese or Chinese lanterns.






Below are excerpts from Linda Inoki’s article.

In terror through much of the night, Tamakazura had slept late and was just now at her morning toilette. Genji silenced his men and came softly up beside her. Screens and other furnishings were stacked untidily in a corner, and the rooms were in considerable disarray. The sunlight streamed in upon almost startlingly fresh beauty. A glow like a hozuki berry came through rich strands of hair.

From the 10th-century “Tale of Genji”
by Murasaki Shikibu,
translated by Edward G. Seidenstecker (Penguin)

Like the ladies of Prince Genji’s court, the hozuki (Physalis alkekengi) hides its beauty behind a veil. The veil is an unusual, lantern-shaped pouch, which protects the berry. It forms from the small “cap” of sepals after the flower has faded. At this time of year, you can find pretty white flowers at the top of the plant, as well as green lanterns that have already formed toward the base. As the fruit matures, the lanterns change to a lovely orange-red color, and by winter some fade to lacy “skeletons” revealing the fruit inside. The fruits are sometimes called “winter cherries” in English. In Japan they were used to make small toys and a tonic (they contain vitamin C).

By Linda Inoki

Japan Times


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