P. alkekengi var. franchetii is a vigorous perennial with mid-green, heart-shaped leaves. In late summer, it produces tiny, creamy-white flowers but its main feature is its autumn fruits. Orange, edible berries are contained within bright-red, papery casings (calyxs) in autumn and, if left, these become skeletonised. The ½”- ¾” fruits have a pleasant, tart flavor. Can be used to make juice and jams. Start plants early in February for first year fruits. Full sun. Good container plant, great dried, in bouquets. Hardy to Zone 6.
Other Names: Winter Cherry, Strawberry groundcherry, Ground Cherry, Chinese Lantern, Bladder cherry. Syn: Physalis francheti, Physalis latifolia.