Physalis alkekengi

The English are certainly not without some fame, if not some notoriety, when it comes to gardening and ornamental plants, so it was no surprise when, during an earlier walkabout, I was shown these plants. We chatted about how lovely they were — but then it was still Fall and they were rather resplendently and utterly Halloween-y in their stunning orangeness.

I rather like the way they have, quite literally, weathered with the last few frosts — none of which have been very hard — and the recent snow. I know a certain artist, — cough, Annemarie, cough — who will be collecting them for their wonderful process of image-making the next time they are here. Right now, about all that’s left is the “lantern” with its seed inside, the leaves pretty much all gone.

Apparently, the Chinese lantern plant, Physalis alkekengi, (I’ve also seen it referred to as the “Japanese lantern plant”) is considered invasive in some places, given the manner of its root system being very wide-spread in nature.



They certainly have a certain charm even, or perhaps especially, in the snow.

Meanwhile, as I wandered about later, things were a little more, uhm, bleak? There are multiple ponds here — the whole site slopes downward to the south, so of course everything is flowing that direction — and the views change accordingly. I love the way the snow alters our perceptions of the same landscape that we look at, day after day, into something new.


Perhaps, that is what evokes the sense of wonder when Winter arrives and everything is coated with white. We remain beguiled by it, at least until things thaw a little and the mud re-asserts itself. But until that moment, let us enjoy.

Author: alfonsoelsabio

Citoyen du monde: Photographer, librarian/archivist/academic, musician, and writer... I've lived in, or visited, every state in the US except South Dakota and Hawaii.